Mighty winds blow through Kern County, and plans for a wind-farm project that could create energy dominated a lengthy discussion at Thursday’s Kern County Planning Commission meeting.
The commission voted 3-1 to support the PdV Wind Energy Project by Power Partners Southwest LLC, an entity affiliated with enXco, to move forward with plans to place 100 to 300 wind turbines on nearly 6,000 acres about 15 miles west of Rosamond.
Dennis Scullion of enXco said the project would generate up to 300 megawatts, or enough power to supply 90,000 homes. The project would lessen dependency on oil and coal for energy. Kern County is the state’s leading renewable-energy provider, Scullion said. The project would bring $6 million in tax revenues to the county.
But Northrup Grumman, a defense contractor, doesn’t want the project in its backyard.
Dave Mazur, a vice president and program manager for the B2 bomber, said the turbines would interfere with its operations at the Tejon Test Facility, so much so that it would have to close. The facility works on stealth technology testing and many classified military contracts, but it’s not a military installation. Northrup asked the commission to postpone any decision so a third party, cleared to review classified issues, could review the project.
EnXco offered to shut down the turbines when the wind speeds are low to minimize interruption to Northrup Grumman’s operations. But turning off the turbines isn’t an easy thing to do.
County planning staff see Northrup Grumman’s concerns with the proposed wind farm as being about land-use compatibility issues, not environmental issues.
Residents who have cabins in White Oak Lodge pleaded with the commission to preserve the pristine beauty of the area. They worried about birds being clobbered by the wind turbines and about light and noise pollution.
But Commissioner Ron Sprague praised the project.
“We all want green, efficient energy – it’s the thing to do.”
Kern’s Board of Supervisors will next consider the wind-farm project.
The commission considered its second case 2 1/2 hours into the meeting. Members supported a permit request by Maria Roblesto run an agricultural trucking facility on about 15 acres on Bear Mountain Boulevard in Arvin. The permit would be in place for two years.
Refrigerated trucks, whose generators create noise, need to run for about 12 hours during the day while drivers get their required rest. But the trucks would not be allowed to run on the site from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Chairman Chris Babcock told Robles it’s important she and her employees be good neighbors, who would serve as the eyes and ears to make sure the facility is appropriately operated.
Permits for a private landfill operated by H.M. Holloway of Wasco on 300 acres near Highway 46 were approved. County Supervisors will next consider this request.
The proposed site would accept 2,000 tons of waste per day. It would be limited to accepting treated auto shredder waste, fly ash, treated sewage or biosolids, sandblast material and lime cake.
By Jenny Shearer
Californian Staff Writer
28 February 2008
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