Travis Air Force Base officials have taken a stance against proposals to add more than 100 wind turbines in the Montezuma Hills, saying they may interfere with a new radar system the base will begin to install in November.
Approximately 700 wind turbines already are operating in the hills, about 10 miles southeast of the base.
The wind turbine issue will be taken up by the Solano County Planning Commission tonight after being tabled six months ago so that base officials and the applicants could attempt to work out a solution.
It was at the April 19 Planning Commission meeting where the first letter from Travis urged the commission to delay its decision on the wind-farm expansion.
There are two proposals on the table.
The Shiloh II Wind Project would install up to 88 turbines while the Montezuma Wind Project is proposing to build 16 to 23 additional turbines.
The problem is that Air Force officials say the proposed plan to install the additional turbines could cause problems with future aircraft-control radar, called ASR-11, at Travis.
Travis’ Lt. Colonel Shawn Nelson said in a March letter that the blades of the turbines may lead to smaller planes appearing to drop off the radar screens while images of others may appear when they aren’t actually there.
Applicants of the smaller Montezuma project have agreed to postpone their proposal as details are worked out, but enXco, an energy company based in Escondido in Southern California, claims any problem with its Shiloh II project can be solved satisfactorily within two months.
A second letter since has been written by Col. Steven Arquiette, the commandant at Travis, refuting enXco’s claim and urging the planning commission to delay any decisions until the base’s new radar system is installed and operational, which would be in October 2008.
Arquitte’s letter claims the new turbines could pose a threat to civil and military aircraft as well as to the surrounding community.
Mike Yankovich, primary planner with Solano County, said the commission will have to decide whether to delay a decision for two months, indefinitely, or to completely deny the projects.
“It’s going to be continued, the issue is until when,” Yankovich said. “The commission will want to know why this company thinks they can do it in two months.”
The Solano County Planning Commission meets at 7 this evening in the Board of Supervisors Chamber, 675 Texas St. in Fairfield.
By Danny Bernardini
4 October 2007
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