A plan to install more than 100 additional wind turbines in the Montezuma Hills has been shelved for at least six months, and possibly longer.
The proposed location of the turbines, which are similar to some 700 currently operating in the hills, is one which would pose problems to the aircraft control radar used by Travis Air Force Base.
Because of this, the Solano County Planning Commission voted Thursday night to continue the discussions at an October meeting.
Even if the project were approved, Travis and county staff planned to meet to agree on a solution to the problems.
Among the hazards, the blades of the turbines may lead to smaller planes appearing to drop off the radar while others may appear when they aren’t actually there.
Both Travis and the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission urged the planning commission not to go ahead with a staff recommendation to approve the plan. A letter was written in March by Col. Steven Arquiette, commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis, urging commissioners to work with staff to study the effects the turbines would have. Along with the letter, the ALUC voted Tuesday night to oppose the project until a solution to the problem could be worked out.
John Foster, chair of the ALUC, was on hand Thursday to object to the staff’s recommendation. Not only did he say the proposal needed to address the safety concerns of the future turbines, but those that already exist as well.
“The current 700 turbines are currently a problem,” Foster told the commission. “I’m more concerned about that.”
Commissioner John Moore agreed some details had to be worked out before moving forward.
“I want to get smart on this project,” Moore said. “There’s something missing here. If they can’t fix it, it might never get done. Nothing happens unless the Air Force’s problem gets fixed.”
The proposal is two-fold. The first, the Shiloh II Wind Project, is to construct a 176-megawatt wind power project with up to 88 wind turbines on about 6,100 acres. The second, Montezuma Wind Project, is to construct a 37-megawatt project with 16-23 turbines on about 1,428 acres.
By Danny Bernardini
20 April 2007
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