A proposal to add up to 88 wind turbines to the 700 already spinning in the Montezuma Hills has been tabled for two months as a result of a Solano County Planning Commission meeting Thursday night.
The commission continued discussion of the Shiloh II Wind Project to Dec. 6 by a 3-1 vote. Consideration of a second, smaller proposal known as the Montezuma Wind Project, which calls for an additional 16 to 23 turbines, was postponed indefinitely.
Officials from Travis Air Force Base have said the projects pose a potential safety hazard. The problem, they’ve explained, is that the additional wind turbines could be incompatible with the ASR-11 radar system the base plans to have operational by October 2008.
“Therefore, our preference is that construction of additional wind turbines … be delayed until the new ASR-11 system is installed and operational,” Col. Steven Arquiette said in a letter to County Planning Manager Mike Yankovich. “At that time, the Air Force will be able to determine whether operationally acceptable radar is available … and what the effect of additional wind turbines would be.”
Following the commission’s decision, Col. Giovanni Tuck, who presented on Travis’ behalf, said, “our position is not different than Col. Arquiette’s Sept. 11 letter.”
While the applicants for the Montezuma Wind Project agreed to suspend plans until the radar situation can be resolved, the applicant for the Shiloh II project, enXco, an energy company based in Escondido, is confident that an interim solution can be worked out in two months.
“The main purpose of our request for a continuance is that our nationally recognized radar experts have developed a proposal,” said Gregory Blue, a regional manager with enXco, “which we believe will address Travis’ concerns, as well as allow us to move forward.”
Referring to Arquiette’s letter, Blue said it “did not look at all of our proposals.”
“We would like to exhaust all of our options,” he said. “We believe our project could still be a 2008 project.”
Planning Commissioner Jennifer Barton, who cast the dissenting vote, said in her experience, Col. Arquiette is the last word at Travis.
“If it doesn’t work for Travis Air Force Base,” she said, “it doesn’t work for Solano County.”
Speaking in favor of a two-month continuance, Commissioner John Moore said he “could not, in good conscience” support a continuance to “a date uncertain.”
“I don’t think it’s appropriate that any party in this discussion sit back and wait,” he said. Following the meeting, he said the parties should stay at the table and continue to work toward a solution.
“If they can fix this in two months, they should fix it in two months,” Moore said. “They should keep trying to resolve it.”
By Jennifer Gentile
5 October 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding