solar farms

SECOND DUST STORM STRIKES OCOTILLO; COULD DESERT ENERGY PROJECTS BE THE CAUSE?

 

 

An ECM special investigation continues, finding links between rise in dust storms across outhwest, Valley Fever epidemic, and installation of large-scale desert solar and wind projects

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 26, 2013 (Ocotillo)--A second dust storm has struck Ocotillo on Auugust 25, just two days after an earlier dust storm swept through the desert community.  Dust billowed thousands of feet into the air, dwarfing  a 500 foot tall wind turbines scarcely visible in the above photo.  East County Magazine photographer Jim Pelley was in the midst of the storm and shot videos: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7Jz2KQmVZs&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ViBPc25iIE&feature=youtu.be

RESIDENTS HOPE EYE GNAT PLAGUE TO END AS FARMER PLANS TO PULL OUT OF JACUMBA

 
June 12, 2012 (Jacumba)–Residents of this rural town are “cautiously” optimistic after receiving written confirmation from the San Diego Department of Environmental Health [DEH] that Bornt Farms will soon cease operations in Jacumba. The reason given by the farmer is “water supply constraints” according to DEH.
 
But the eye gnat plague has worsened as Bornt has halted mitigation efforts—so residents’ woes are not yet over. Bornt’s withdrawal always raises questions about the future of his land—and who will be the townspeople’s new neighbor.

 

ADVOCATES OF ROOFTOP SOLAR RAISE VOICES IN PROTEST OVER INDUSTRIAL-SCALE DESERT SOLAR AND WIND PROJECTS

  

Story by Terry Weiner and Miriam Raftery

Videos by Jim Pelley

March 15, 2012 (Holtville)--Early Wednesday, rooftop solar activists and desert conservationists from Imperial Valley and San Diego County  convened outside the Barbara Worth Resort—site of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation's three-day Renewable Energy Summit and Expo.

Protesters oppose tax credits going to giant energy companies and called for similar incentives to help property owners put solar on their roofs. They also objected to their viewpoint being excluded by conference coordinators. Participants voiced concerns over negative impacts of industrial-scale wind and solar projects. In some cases, wind turbines have been abandoned, left as rusting blights on the landscape. Other concerns include destruction of habitat for wildlife, noise, health impacts, loss of agricultural lands, and destruction of recreational areas on public lands.

JACUMBA: A TOWN SURROUNDED

 

How many massive energy projects are too many for one rural community to absorb?

“They want to put these all out here, because we’re throwaway country people.” – Howard Cook

By Mia Myklebust and Miriam Raftery

February 16, 2012 (Jacumba) – Walking along the shores of Lake Jacumba, it’s clear that Howard Cook has big dreams for his community.  Chairman of the Lake Restoration Committee, he has wrested a pledge from the Audubon Society to restore the once-dry lake.

“We want to have fishing, boating, and recreation,” he says.  Cook is working with others who dream of “making this another Taos—art, wildlife, hiking, Indians and birds.”

But there’s trouble on the horizon.  Multiple industrial-scale wind and solar farms soon stand to surround this tiny town, jeopardizing its most cherished natural treasures. Sites include publicly owned recreation lands, notably a spectacular scenic gorge known to locals as “our Grand Canyon,” Cook points out.

Jacumba is a proverbial canary in the coal mine—a warning of what other publicly-owned preserves and rural communities across America may soon face. 

SEMPRA GENERATION PLANT NAMED “SOLAR PROJECT OF THE YEAR” BY RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD

March 9, 2011 (San Diego) – San Diego-based Sempra Generation’s Copper Mountain Solar project, currently the largest photovoltaic solar plant in the U.S., has been awarded “Solar Project of the Year” by Renewable Energy World as part of the 2011 Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards.

DESERT PROTECTIVE COUNCIL ISSUES “SOLAR DONE RIGHT” GUIDELINES

June 1, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)--The Desert Protective Council has established guidelines for solar energy installations. Policy makers and solar developers are encouraged to follow five principles for developing renewable energy to protect the environment from potential damage by massive solar farms. The DPC also suggests contacting Congressional officials to ask them to embrace the following “Solar Done Right” principles.

BILBRAY COAUTHORS BILL TO EXEMPT SOLAR FARMS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW; FEINSTEIN SEEKS TO BLOCK DESERT SOLAR FARM DUE TO SEVERE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2009 (San Diego)--Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-San Diego) has coauthored H.R. 964, a measure that would exempt any solar energy project on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands from Environmental Impact Report requirements. Sempra Energy, Bilbray's third largest campaign contributor, seeks to import power from desert solar farms on BLM lands.