ANTIOCH – City leaders expressed reservations this week about a local sanitary district’s proposal to power a recycled water project with a 327-foot-high wind turbine.
Delta Diablo Sanitation District is looking to build the turbine on its property on the Pittsburg-Antioch border. The turbine would provide two-thirds of the power for the recycled water project in Pittsburg and Antioch.
Officials presented the plan to Antioch leaders this week to get initial feedback and make sure there are “no surprises,” said Gary Darling, Delta Diablo general manager.
Artist renderings shown at the meeting indicated that the turbine would be visible from throughout Pittsburg and Antioch – a point of contention for city leaders.
“The object seems very obstructive,” Councilwoman Mary Rocha said.
“It’s right in the middle of all our views. I have to be honest; I’m not real hot about it,” added Councilman Gary Agopian, who asked whether the district had considered solar panels as an alternative.
The wind option makes the most sense for costs and works even when the sun is down, Darling said. Building one large tower is also less expensive than several smaller ones, he said.
Delta Diablo would enter into an agreement with Foundation Windpower to build, operate and maintain the turbine. In return, the district buys the power that the turbine generates.
The net result will be a reduced cost for powering the facility, which in turn is passed along to ratepayers, Delta Diablo spokeswoman Angela Lowery said.
The turbine would not be any more obstructive than the smoke plume from neighboring Delta Energy Center, Pittsburg Councilwoman Nancy Parent said in an interview. Parent, who represents Pittsburg on the Delta Diablo Board of Directors, agreed that it would cut rates for consumers.
The turbine will generate about 1 megawatt of power, Darling said.
“We see this as a great way to link green technologies. It fits well with our goal of being good stewards of the environment,” he said.
Antioch council members also raised concerns about birds getting caught in the blades. The blades turn slowly enough that it should not be a problem, Delta Diablo officials said.
Construction of the turbine is still a year away; it must go through the state environmental review and permitting process.
The nearly $40 million recycled water project is aimed at decreasing the region’s reliance on the Delta and cutting city irrigation costs. The system takes about 6 million gallons of undrinkable water from Delta Diablo each day and waters Lone Tree and Delta View golf courses, city parks and shrubs in road medians.
It also provides cooling water at two local power plants.
The rest of the power for the recycled water project would come from PG&E, Darling said.
Delta Diablo will present the turbine proposal to the Pittsburg City Council on March 7.