January 8, 2015

Benicia city council stresses public outreach in wind turbine development

By Irma Widjojo, Vallejo Times-Herald | 01/07/15 | www.timesheraldonline.com

City council members voiced their concerns Tuesday night that there wasn’t enough planning in the process of developing wind turbines in Benicia, but asked staff to bring back a draft of a request of proposal for developers’ bids.

The council heard a presentation given by staff about the opportunity of developing wind turbines in the city as a source of revenue, as well as a project that is in line with the city’s Climate Action Plan.

Without any commitment, a major developer, Foundation Wind Power, prepared plans for two 360-foot tall wind turbines at the city’s Water Treatment Plant. The turbines would generate 9,000 mWh of power and would generate $75,000 in an annual lease payment for the use of the property, including a percentage of the energy sold by the developer. All other expenses would be paid for by the developer.

A smaller turbine option was also presented, but developers tend to not provide funding for the development of those staff said. Therefore the city would have to look for funding sources. However, smaller turbines would be able to generate power to be used within the city.

Councilwoman Christina Strawbridge said the request for proposal should include the company’s experience in dealing with residential environment and community outreach, while Councilman Tom Campbell said there should be an outreach first before the request of proposal is drafted.

At the end of the discussion, the city council directed the staff to draft a request for proposal that includes plans for public outreach and specific criteria for the project.

In other business, the council unanimously approved the $18,950 grant that was given to the Benicia Fire Department to purchase a rescue boat, which can hold up to 10 people.

Campbell had concerns about the cost of the liability insurance, which is $2,500 annually.

City Attorney Heather Mc Laughlin said that is something can be discussed in a later date, if it would be worth purchasing or if there’s a lower-cost option.

Fire Chief Jim Lydon also added that all firefighters would eventually be trained in water rescue.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2015/01/08/benicia-city-council-stresses-public-outreach-in-wind-turbine-development/