The Altamont Pass is coming to Yolo County and it should concern all of us.
Pioneer Energy is in the process of leasing more than 40,000 acres in our county with hopes of building a large wind turbine power plant.
This will forever change the nature of our county and it should not be permitted. Very large, 360-foot-tall wind turbines are envisioned for the Dunnigan Hills just west of Interstates 5 and 505. Towers may be sited within 500 to 750 feet of residential property.
The noise and strobing lights from similar towers have driven residents from their homes, tourists from quiet country, and birds and wildlife from their habitat.
You say, well, it’s green energy and we need it, but that may not be true.
Wind power results in very expensive, low-quality power. It increases the overall cost of electricity, and when it makes up a significant percentage of the utility power it may not result in significant reductions in CO2 emissions or use of nonrenewable energy sources.
Very little of the profits from wind power plants are realized by the local community, and the construction of these plants create very few, if any, local jobs.
In addition, wind power plants create a plethora of serious local environmental impacts. Among them are noise pollution, land disturbances, changes to drainage and erosion, creation of large concrete structures (foundations) that remain after decommissioning, possible impacts on underground hydrology from drilling and blasting foundations, viewscape impacts, light flickering, light pollution at night, interferences with radio/radar transmissions and impacts on land planning/zoning because many uses in the area are excluded by presence of turbines.
Other impacts include bird and bat kills, impacts on tourism and the rural atmosphere, changes to local microclimates (temperature, humidity, wind speed and wind characteristics), environmental impacts caused by use of large amounts of material (metal, plastics, concrete, etc.) and disposal issues with potentially hazardous materials.
Last week, wind turbines were blamed for starting a fire on Texas Rep. Susan King’s ranch. Most of us remember when an electrical fire started in the Dunnigan Hills a few years ago – hundreds of sheep were killed.
There are other, better, solutions to “green energy.” The Yolo County General Plan envisions a rural agricultural county with ag tourism and open space. For example, “rooftop” solar can meet our county’s and country’s green energy needs while reducing energy cost and CO2 emissions.
Save our county for generations to come. Stop the large power plants. Let your supervisors know your thoughts.
— Mary Jo Hoes is a Zamora resident.
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