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Wind farm south of Lompoc agrees to pay for use of local roadways 

Credit:  By Ron Fink | Noozhawk | June 29, 2021 | www.noozhawk.com ~~

The Lompoc City Council, on June 15, approved a deal to allow Strauss Wind LLC to transport numerous oversized loads through the city to a “green energy” project they are building south of the city.

I placed “green energy” in quotes since the manufacturing of wind farm components – lubricants used to keep the 29 turbines spinning, circuit boards, cable insulation, fuel for maintenance and construction vehicles, and virtually everything including the employees clothing needed to keep the project functioning over the entire project life – requires materials derived from fossil fuels.

So, this project, like most other in this category are not as “green” as they appear.

As a side note, a canyon resident said that the county Planning Department required them to lower the roof line by six inches for a single-story house they were going to build because it might block the view. The wind turbines will be about 400 feet tall (equal to a 40-story building).

But this hearing wasn’t about the environmental impacts of the project; it was about the impact of the heavy loads on road surfaces, and disruption to commerce and emergency response during the movement of 29 sets of blades used to catch the wind used to propel the turbines.

According to a Noozhawk report on June 18: “Strauss Wind LLC is developing a big wind energy project south of town, and they need to haul a bunch of big stuff through the city, so they need an agreement with the city to do that and some permits from the city to do that,” said Lompoc’s assistant public works director and city engineer.

According to the staff report, each of these loads include the transport vehicles of “up to 290 feet in overall length, 15 feet in width, 16 feet in height, weighing up to 340,000 pounds.”

These are for the blades, and Strauss plans to move them in 29 sets of three blades each; at most there would be two of these trips a week consisting of three transport trucks and support vehicles.

Moving loads like this along Ocean Avenue from V Street to F Street, then turning to use Cypress Avenue back to I Street, and then traveling south to the project will certainly have an impact on the daily lives of many people.

The staff report indicates the “Roadway Agreement limits the duration of road closures and detours of public traffic to one hour per day, occurring between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, and requires all oversized vehicles which stop public traffic longer than three minutes to travel through the City within that one-hour closure period.”

These are prime business hours, and even if the load moves at “road speed” along Ocean Avenue, it will certainly disrupt traffic and hinder access into and out of businesses and apartments along the route. And depending on what time they travel south on I Street, it could impact parents/grandparents picking up or delivering their kids to the Catholic school.

It will also disrupt emergency response capability because the route boxes in Fire Station One and the Police Department. Access to City Hall would also be limited as the loads passs.

In addition to the loads described above, there will be thousands of deliveries of aggregate, construction materials, concrete, large construction cranes, and heavy equipment to and from the site.

All this disruption and staff effort to process permit applications, negotiate terms with Strauss LLC, monitor road condition before and after transport, and provide for as yet unplanned services from the Police and Fire departments are worthy of compensation.

Strauss LLC previously proposed a level of compensation that was unacceptable to the City Council; since then, they have negotiated in good faith with the city and are providing a total of $2.95 million in three separate agreements.

The first is $450,000 for engineering, legal, consultant reviews and electrical work along the route; the second is a $2 million account to repair roads as required during and following the transport; and finally, $500,000 to the General Fund to be used for “public benefit.”

The project provides no power to the city of Lompoc. Our power supply has been coming from a geothermal “green energy” source for several decades. Just like this project though, our power relies on materials derived from fossil fuels to build and maintain the conveyance system both along the route from northern California and within the city.

Source:  By Ron Fink | Noozhawk | June 29, 2021 | www.noozhawk.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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