Soon, the ranches and rural dwellings in Miguelito Canyon might be surrounded with a forest of wind turbines.
A report in Noozhawk says the “Strauss Wind Energy Project, proposed by a San Diego-based division of German firm BayWa AG, seeks to install 30 wind tower generators on approximately 3,000 acres southwest of Lompoc’s city limit.”
According to the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development website: “The SWEP includes a new power transmission line to be constructed by Strauss that would connect the proposed onsite project substation to the Pacific Gas & Electric Cabrillo Substation that is located in the city of Lompoc. The SWEP’s facilities, including all wind turbine generators (WTGs), the power line and most access roads would be located in the inland area of the county and subject to the Santa Barbara County Land Use and Development Code. Some grading of access roads would extend into the coastal zone and be subject to the coastal zoning ordinance.”
The bucolic setting of the canyon would be forever changed by new road construction and by towers nearly 500 feet tall. Miguelito Park, the most scenic park in the Lompoc Valley, could be swallowed up by proposed road improvements, and some ranches might lose some of their property as the roadway is widened and straightened to handle the extra-long trucks.
Another issue is, how will the trucks navigate the turn off of Ocean Avenue to access Miguelito Canyon Road from I Street?
To put the scale of these towers in context, consider that the average distance between floors in buildings is about 12 feet; therefore, these towers are equivalent in height to a 40-plus-story building. The old missile support tower at Space Launch Complex 4 was only 20 stories high, and it could be easily seen from many miles away.
The wind towers, unlike homes and ranches in the area, would be easily visible all over the Lompoc Valley and as far away as 25 miles on Highway 166, according to the environmental impact report.
Wind farms generally rely on sustained winds above 20 mph and less than 60 mph to function. Wind is unreliable at best. Locals say these conditions rarely exist for extended periods and mostly occur during the winter months, which means that these huge towers would be idle for prolonged periods.
Even Robert Kennedy Jr., who normally supports every environmentalist dream for America, is skeptical of the claims of wind farm operators.
Some environmentalists object, but most support the idea of wind energy projects even if they cause damage to the environment that wouldn’t be tolerated for any other commercial project. Think oil exploration here. The swinging blades not only kill birds, but the harmonics of the tower chase away small animals.
Well, I guess because it’s in Lompoc it won’t bother anyone in Santa Barbara (who would want to block the view of the bums on State Street?), and secondly, it just feels so good to “save the environment.”
Will this project be built? Probably, since none of the regulatory agencies has raised any red flags. Should it be built? The answer is no.
The last time this idea was floated, the applicant withdrew the project after locals objected. So, there is a chance that it could face stiff opposition and once again be withdrawn. Let’s hope so, because this is really a disruptive project.
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