Pattern Energy

SENATOR HUESO SEEKS ANSWERS ON OCOTILLO WIND TURBINE COLLAPSE

 

Part III in our series on the Ocotillo wind turbine collapse

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Jim Pelley

December  11, 2016 (Ocotillo) – State Senator Ben Hueso (D-40th district) wants to know why a massive wind turbine collapsed on November 21st  in Ocotillo on public land—and what will be done to prevent future such disasters.

In a letter to Beth O’Brien,  Pattern Energy’s manager of external affairs,  Senator Hueso notes that this is the third serious incident that has occurred at the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facilitiy since it opened approximately four years ago.  Prior problems include a wind turbine that burst into flames and another that hurled a multi-ton blade onto a public trail.

He indicated that residents have contacted him with concerns and asked him to look into the matter.  East County Magazine also contacted the Senator to ask what steps will be taken to protect public safety.

OCOTILLO WIND FALLS SHORT OF CAPACITY FORECAST FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2016 (Ocotillo) – The numbers are in –and for the third straight year, the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility has fallen far short of the 34% capacity factor that Pattern Energy predicted the project would generate in its applications for lucrative federal subsidies.   In 2015, the Ocotillo project generated just 23.06%.  In 2014, it hit 26.4% and in 2013, when it was offline two months for hurling off a multi-ton blade, it produced a scant 15.7%.

We’re not surprised, since our award-winning 2014 investigative article, Was It Fraud? included forecasts by an international wind expert,Nicolas Boccard, who accurately predicted the project’s failure before it was built. He suggested the federal government had grounds for a False Claims Act suit against Pattern Energy.  We again raised questions about the project’s viability last year, in  a second story.

OCOTILLO WIND FAILS TO PRODUCE POWER PROMISED FOR SECOND YEAR IN A ROW

Fraud issue heightened by 2nd year of weak wind energy output. So why isn't the federal government taking action?

By Miriam Raftery

May 29, 2015 (Ocotillo) – Last year, our award-winning investigative story, Was It Fraud?  raised serious questions over why Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility produced only 15% capacity factor in 2013—far less than the 34 percent capacity factor that Pattern promised the federal government in order to obtain lucrative federal subsidies. Even after accounting for time when a fallen blade shut down the project, capacity factor for the remaining months still averaged less than 19 percent.

Now, the figures are in for 2014—and the Ocotillo wind project again under-performed, this time reaching 24 percent capacity factor:

WIND TURBINE BURSTS INTO FLAMES IN OCOTILLO

By Miriam Raftery

January 17, 2015 (Ocotillo) –A wind turbine at the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility burst into flames on January 15th.  East County Magazine photographer Jim Pelley, an Ocotillo resident, caught the incident on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGYvHM5KlJs&feature=youtu.be. The Siemens 2.3-108 turbine was a 2.3 megawatt  model with 108 meter blades.  The turbine (#110) is located along a mining road.

“There were no injuries,” Jeff Grappone from Siemens told ECM.  An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire, he stated in an e-mail.  The equipment impacted (six turbines on one circuit) has been de-energized, a safe perimeter established and the tower is being monitored continuously, he indicated.

OCOTILLO RESIDENTS SAY WIND TURBINE NOISE CREATES “LIVING HELL”

 

“It's a horror beyond words; something you have to live to understand. Something must be done to stop the noise.” – Ocotillo resident Parke Ewing

November 14, 2014 (Ocotillo) – Residents in Ocotillo say that during windy conditions in early November, noise from wind turbines is making their lives unbearable.   

Jim Pelley captured the loud noise on videotape, juxtaposed with footage of Pattern Energy’s Glenn Hodges selling the project to supervisors in Imperial Valley by claiming that noise would not be an issue due to setbacks.  “The project was sold on the understanding to be five miles from the community of Ocotillo,” Pelley wrote on a Youtube post. “We have turbines as close as 1/2 mile, we are now forced to live with the horrible noise of 112 turbines when the wind blows.”

His neighbor, Parke Ewing, says his complaints to Imperial County and Bureau of Land Management officials, as well as Pattern Energy, have fallen on deaf ears, with no meaningful responses.

BLADE FLICKER POSES DRIVER DISTRACTION ON I-8

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 26, 2014 (Ocotillo) – Moving shadows of massive blades the length of football fields flickering across I-8 near the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility  has been the subject of many complaints we’ve received from readers, residents and motorists since Pattern Energy built the project on Federal Bureau of Land Management property.

LACKLUSTER POWER PRODUCTION CONTINUES AT OCOTILLO WIND

 

May 31, 2014 (Ocotillo) – Last month, our article, “Was it fraud?”  raised serious questions over whether Pattern Energy exaggerated wind capacity factor claims to pocket federal subsidies for its Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility.  That story revealed that in calendar year 2013, the facility produced less than half  of the 34% capacity factor promised by the developer.

AN ECOLOGICAL DISASTER IN THE MAKING?

 

An analysis on the impacts of energy policies and projects on the future of East County

By Jessica Richmond and Miriam Raftery

May 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A growing number of East County residents, fire chiefs, environmentalists and elected officials are voicing alarm over the proposed large-scale destruction of natural and scenic resources for numerous industrial-scale “renewable” wind and solar energy projects and related powerlines, substations and more.  A map reveals that East County is targeted for a disproportionate share of these projects, pushed forward by energy companies and politicians who contend such development is needed to disrupt disastrous effects of global warming and fill the regional energy gap left by closing San Onofre nuclear generation stations.

But opponents say these projects are not green or sustainable, instead setting up our region for an ecological disaster in the making. They raise some crucial questions:

How did San Diego’s East County come to be targeted for fast-tracking by federal, state and county governments to facilitate construction of so many massive-scale solar and wind projects and related transmission lines in rural, mountain and desert areas instead of urban locations where demand for power is highest? 

Why isn’t preference given to incentivize less destructive renewable options, such as rooftop and parking lot solar or small-scale wind turbines for use by residents, schools, municipal governments and businesses?

WAS IT FRAUD? EXPERTS RAISE SERIOUS QUESTIONS AFTER LOW FIRST-YEAR ENERGY PRODUCTION AT OCOTILLO WIND PROJECT

 

Elected officials suppressed key report, failed to halt project or recover taxpayer dollars

“It was heartbreaking to see this project desecrate such a historically and culturally significant landscape, and it’s even worse when you find out that it was built on false claims by the developer, and with the assistance of the BLM. "-- Anthony Pico, Chairman, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians

An East County Magazine special investigation

By Miriam Raftery

April 30, 2014 (Ocotillo) – An international wind energy expert has concluded that Pattern Energy appears to have defrauded the federal government in order to obtain lucrative tax subsidies for a wind energy development in southern California that has failed to live up to the developer’s claims.

“I believe we have a clear case for the False Claims Act,” Nicolas Boccard told East County Magazine, after reviewing full first-year wind production data for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility on U..S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land.  The project produced only about half of the energy that Pattern claimed it would produce—far below levels deemed viable for a wind project, a second expert confirms. 

These dismal results are no surprise to Boccard, who predicted in a report written before construction of the project was  completed that Ocotillo lacks sufficient wind speeds to sustain a viable wind energy project.

So were Pattern's lofty wind speed claims nothing more than spin?

VIDEO: THE OCOTILLO SUITE

February 28, 2014 (Ocotillo) -- An Ocotillo resident has prepared a poignant video dramatically illustrating the scope of destruction done by Pattern Energy to build its Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility.  The video details the beauty of the desert with closeup images of birds and other wildlife amid the ocotillo forest mowed down on 12,500 acres of public lands, then shows the construction and finished results.

MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS OPPOSE SOITEC SOLAR PROJECTS, WARN OF PERMANENT ECOLOGICAL HARM

 

Anza Borrego Foundation calls for halt to fast-tracking of all major energy projects;

Cleveland National Forest Foundation says EIR violates CEQA, fails to examine less harmful alternatives such as rooftop solar

By Miriam Raftery

February 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—The Anza Borrego Foundation (ABF) and a law firm representing  the Cleveland National Forest Foundation (CNFF) have submitted comments warning of dire consequences from Soitec Solar’s proposed massive solar projects in the  Boulevard community.  Both urge the County to put the brakes on the proposed projects, which they warn would cause irreparable harm to wildlife and ecosystems not only in rural Boulevard, but in Anza Borrego State Park and Cleveland National Forest.

QUECHAN NATION MOURNS ANCESTORS IN OCOTILLO

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2014 (Ocotillo) – Tribal members from the Quechan nation traveled by caravan to Ocotillo on January 17 and 18 to mourn the desecration of their ancestors’ burial grounds by the Ocotillo Express Wind Farm. Tribal members met at the Ocotillo Community Center and staged a run carrying a banner reading "We want respect for our ancestors' remains" to the wind site, where they held an all-night mourning ceremony for their ancestors.

Pattern Energy's industrial wind facility was built  atop lands known as “Valley of the Dead” by Native American tribes for over 10,000 years. The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians also objected to the desecration of ancestral remains and persuaded the California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) that the state should take action on their behalf, but those efforts were thwarted by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

ENDANGERED BIGHORN SPOTTED IN MCCAIN VALLEY

 

January 2, 2014 (McCain Valley) -- While hiking in McCain Valley north of Sacatone Road on New Year's Day, Laurie Baker and her husband encountered these two Peninsular Bighorn rams.

"What a pleasant surprise!" Baker exclaimed of her New Year's discovery -- an important sighting, since the draft environmental impact statement for Iberdrola Renewables' planned Tule Wind project in McCain Valley concludes that wind turbines aren "located outside of critical habitat areas and will not have any detrimental impacts on sheep."

Finding proof of the endangered animals doesn't assure their protection, however.  When Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express Wind Facility was approved, the project's environmental report similarly concluded that the site was not bighorn habitat.  When photos of a herd of bighorn on the project site were sent to then Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, he issued take permits allowing up to 10 bighorn ewes and lambs to be killed, allowing the project to proceed at the expense of this critically endangered species which is at risk of extinction, according to the Bighorn Institute.

HAWK WATCH PROGRAM CANCELLED IN RAMONA FOR 2014

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 30, 2013 (Ramona)--After 20 years, Hawk Watch, a popular wildlife educational program in Ramona featuring  hawks, owls and eagles, has been cancelled for 2014 .  Visitors can still go birdwatching on their own at the Ramona Grasslands  Preserve, but there will be no organized presentations or up-close looks at captive birds of prey.

 Wildlife Research Institute, which ran the program, announced the cancellation on its website with no explanation.  But the decision likely stems from trouble raising funds for the nonprofit after news broke that its founder, David Bittner, was sentenced in federal court  in August after pleading guilty to unlawful taking  a Golden Eagle without a permit and failing to file any data reports for a four-year period on birds that he had banded.

DEADLY FLIGHT IN OCOTILLO HIGHLIGHTS DANGERS TO BIRDS OF PREY FROM WIND TURBINES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2013 (Ocotilo) – ECM photographer Parke Ewing photographed a troubling series of images on November 22 showing a large raptor winging its way through Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express Wind Facility, dangerously close to the blades. 

The next day, photographer Jim Pelley found a dead raptor lying on the ground at the site, one leg sliced off, apparently a victim of the turbines. It is unclear whether it is the same raptor photographed on the wing by Ewing.

A news article just published in Rewire Magazine that the new, large wind turbines such as those at Ocotillo are likely responsible for 100,000 bird deaths a year in California.  Moreover, California is the deadliest state in the nation when it comes to bird deaths from wind projects, including many that are protected under the Migratory Species Treaty or the Endangered Species Act.

LIGHTS OFF IN OCOTILLO: OUTAGE RAISES QUESTIONS OVER AIR SAFETY

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 25, 2013 (Ocotillo) – Wind turbines in Ocotillo went offline on October 21 for several days due to SDG&E maintenance on Sunrise Powerlink, according to Matt Dallas with Pattern Energy .  Flashing red lights on the turbines that normally warn aircraft of the 500-foot-tall structures have also been dark, raising questions of safety for pilots at the site near the Borrego airport.

READER’S EDITORIAL: OCOTILLO WIND ENERGY FACILITY-- I AM A RESIDENT

By Parke Ewing

“Our desert home is not really a home any longer, it is just a place to fight wind turbine syndrome, since the turbines crank out profits for huge investment companies and CEO's get big bonuses while the uninformed public is forced to subsidize and allow production tax credits for a wind industry that could care less about renewable energy.  Profit is the name of the game here.”—Parke Ewing

October 17, 2013 (Ocotillo) --I am a resident, another citizen forced to live adjacent to an Industrial Wind Turbine Facility.  The Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility consists of 112 Siemens 2.3-108 wind turbines, the nacelles are 262.5 feet high, the very tip of a turbine blade at 12 o'clock measures 438' above the desert floor.  This hideous project was approved and constructed by Pattern Energy surrounding the community of Ocotillo, California, which according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is designated as a "Marginal Wind Resource" area.

OCOTILLO RESIDENTS’ WOES CONTINUE AS NEW DUST STORM, FLOODING, WHITE SLUDGE FLOW STRIKES COMMUNITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2013 (Ocotillo) – A new dust storm, flooding and more white foam flowed through Ocotillo today, heightening residents’ concerns about impacts of Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Facility on this desert community. 

At 4:40 p.m. a storm hit, sending massive amounts of dust into the air, this time coming directly from project access dirt roads created by Pattern Energy, according to Jim Pelley, who shot this video. Soon after, a storm brought flash flooding, which residents claim is worsened by drainage changes made by the wind developer.  The flood brought a repeat of an unknown white sludgy substance washing across the desert floor and into the town. 

“The white foam is back moving across the project. It was a bit eerie,” said Pelly, who took video of today’s white foam flood as well.

OCOTILLO RESIDENTS COMPLAIN OF TURBINE NOISE SIMILAR TO “JET ENGINES”

By Miriam Raftery

August 12, 2013 (Ocotillo) – When Pattern Energy presented its proposed Ocotillo Express Wind Facility project to Imperial County Supervisors, the company promised that massive industrial wind turbines would be no louder than a refrigerator or a library.   But now residents are complaining that noise levels are far louder—and they’ve provided a video to bolster their claim.

The problems foreshadow issues that East County residents could soon face when similar gargantuan wind turbines slated to be built in East County are completed -- turbines 500 feet tall with blade spans the size of football fields--far larger than any located in our region thus far.

On August 7, with many turbines still off-line due to safety issues after a blade fell off,  ECM photojournalist and Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley took the following video to show the high noise levels to which area residents were being subjected:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF8eMvb4570&feature=youtu.be  Since then, the problem had gotten even worse, residents say, with more turbines now back online.

WILD RIDE: VIDEO INSIDE A FLASH FLOOD AT THE OCOTILLO WIND FACILITY

 

July 24, 2013 (Ocotillo) - In a dramatic video, award-winning videographer Jim Pelley takes a wild ride along a flooding roadway in the heart of the Ocotillo Express Wind Project.  The brief storm, which lasted only an hour, closed Highway 98, also washing rocks and debris across access roads. (Note: video contains strong language as Pelley struggles to escape the rising floodwaters.)

Pelley, an engineer and resident of Ocotillo, has long contended that changes to natural drainage patterns made by the wind project developer, Pattern Energy, would worsen flooding in the region.  Ocotillo is in a federally designated flood plain, but area residents have said that in the past, it took hours of heavy rainfall to cause serious flooding.

OCOTILLO WIND FARM DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE DELIVERING THE ENERGY PROMISED

 

Originally posted Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at San Diego Loves Green

By Roy L. Hales

June 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – I had to chuckle when I checked my email late last night.

That morning I had posted a press release called, “A Year Later, SDG&E’s Sunrise  Powerlink Delivering on What it was designed to do.” It was up for hours before it dawned on me that anyone reading the title, but not opening the article, would assume it comes from San Diego Loves Green. So I changed the title to “SDG&E says Sunrise Powerlink is delivering on what it was designed to Do.” The most important part of the article was a paragraph in which SDG&E described the projects already feeding the grid:

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: WHAT'S MISSING?

 

 

May 27, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- When Jim Pelley arose at sunrise and looked out over the desert from his home in Ocotillo, he noticed something missing. So he grabbed his camera to record the unusual sight.

A Siemens wind turbine at Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express Wind Energy facility had hurled off  a multi-ton blade onto a trail on public Bureau of Land Management recreational land.  Fortunately, since the accident occurred at night, nobody was harmed.

READER’S EDITORIAL: SILENCE IN OCOTILLO

 

By Jim Pelley

Photos:  Red Tail Hawk at Ocotillo. Thank God the turbines were not spinning! – Jim Pelley

May 22, 2013 (Ocotillo)--It’s been (1) week now since the blade throw at the Ocotillo Wind overseen by Pattern Energy. Wow! What a difference, we forgot what it was like without these wind turbines turning; it’s a breath of fresh air. Not seeing/hearing the turbines turning weather they are generating power or not is a huge difference and now that they are not turning it reminds of some of main reasons we moved to Ocotillo.

RESIDENTS OF OCOTILLO AND BOULEVARD SPEAK OUT, SHARE SAFETY FEARS AFTER TURBINE BLADE FALLS

By Nadin Abbott

(May 16, 2013 (Ocotillo) – “It’s scary, all the dangerous things that could happen. I don’t want anybody to get hurt,” said Michaela Woolley, 13.  She spoke at a press conference at the Ocotillo Community Center today, after a wind turbine at the Ocotillo Wind Express Facility dropped a blade the length of a jumbo jet plane.  

Fortunately nobody was hurt by this accident, though Miachela’s younger brother, Albert added, “It’s scary, the blade of the wind turbine could have landed in a house.” The boy said he also said gets constant headaches that make it hard to do his homework since the turbines were installed.

OCOTILLO WIND TURBINE THROWS OFF MULTI-TON BLADE, PROMPTING WORLD-WIDE CURTAILMENT OF SIMILAR TURBINES AMID GROWING SAFETY CONCERNS

 

 

History of turbine/blade manufacturer Siemens is riddled with bribery, corruption, and other scandals

An East County Magazine special investigative report

By Miriam Raftery

Sierra Robinson, Sholeh Sisson and Jim Pelley also contributed to this report

May 16, 2013 (Ocotillo)—One day after San Diego Supervisors ignored residents’ safety concerns and approved a wind ordinance that would open much of East County to industrial wind turbines, a wind turbine at the Ocotillo Express Wind Energy facility hurled off an 11-ton blade. The blade, manufactured by Siemens, landed on a trail used by off-road vehicles.   The accident has shut down the wind facility pending investigation into the cause. View video shot by Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7bpbQXfFOk

An investigation by East County Magazine reveals a dark history of serious safety hazards involving Siemens’ wind products as well as a corporate past that includes guilty pleas to corruption on a global scale, including accusations of bribery and other serious charges in at least 20 nations. 

Siemens contracted with Pattern Energy, a company with its own checkered corporate past, as ECM has previously reported, to build the controversial project on public land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Ocotillo and paid for with taxpayer subsidies.  Pattern's corporate predecessor also built the Kumeyaay Wind project in Campo, which blew apart in 2010, whirling blade parts over the area. All 75 blades on all 25 turbines had to be replaced; the project was off-line for months.

READER’S EDITORIAL: STOP POISONING OUR COMMUNITY! HERBICIDE SPRAYING IS WIND INDUSTRY’S TOXIC SECRET

 

 

“Pattern Energy is going to pollute what it couldn't destroy… Monsanto’s Roundup is an herbicde cousin  to Agent Orange--the defoliant sprayed in Viet Nam that harmed a generation of veterans and their children… This herbicide—a neurotoxin--is going to get carried downwind. Did Pattern fail to notice that there is still a community with children here in spite of its industrialization of the area with 112 turbines and a substation?”

By Linda Ewing, Ocotillo resident

Photo: Sahara mustard, a “weed” the BLM wants to eradicate with toxic herbicides

May 14, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- Herbicide Mitigation? What is that? I heard these two disturbing words and felt panic.

I knew instinctively that it was going to have something to do with this Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility because nothing good has come from this controversial project since the day Pattern Energy uttered its first words of deception to the town of Ocotillo. Since the day the company first tried to convince us that its massive 438 foot-tall industrial-sized wind turbines were good for the economy.  And yes, the very same day we realized that human lives were disposable and irrelevant in the statistical world of giant wind turbine developers.

WHERE IS THE WIND? ATTORNEY PRESENTS EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST WIND INDUSTRY CLAIMS ARE OVERBLOWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 7, 2014 (San Diego)--“How do you beat the national average with below average wind speeds?” Attorney Bill Pate posed that intriguing question at a forum hosted in San Diego recently by Activist San Diego.

Good question. Pattern Energy told the California Public Utilities Commission that it would reach 34% capacity at Ocotillo Express Wind Facility, a  site rated just a class 2, the second lowest federal rating for wind speeds.  The first three months of data for the Ocotillo project show only about a 19% capacity reached.   In the entire U.S., there is only a 22 to 23% net capacity on average.  

So how did the project get approved?

NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION DECLARES OCOTILLO WIND A SACRED SITE, ASKS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO WEIGH LEGAL ACTION

 

“I really want to say `Dismantle it and give the land back to the tribes…I’d like to ask the Attorney General to…give this commission more teeth so we could say `Tear that wall down.”  -- Commissioner Marshall McKay

View video highlights by Paul Kruze: http://youtu.be/nS93BfT6juI

  (For full unedited videos, scroll to bottom of this story)

By Miriam Raftery

April 26, 2013 (San Diego) – At a hearing in San Diego on Monday, members of the state Native American Heritage Commission heard several hours of emotional testimony from Native Americans who contend that the  U.S. Bureau of Land Management ignored their  concerns and its duty to protect a clearly documented sacred site and cemetery in the fast-tracked approval process for the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility.

By a 4-0 vote, with the remaining commissioners absent, the NAHC voted to grant requests by Viejas and Quechan tribes to declare the 12,400 acre Ocotillo wind project site a sanctified Native American  sacred site.  Further, the commissioners voted unanimously to ask California Attorney General Kamala Harris to research if legal action can be taken.

NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION HEARING ON OCOTILLO ISSUES SET FOR APRIL 22 IN SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 12, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The California Native American Heritage (CNAH) Commission will hold a hearing in San Diego on Monday, April 22 at 11 a.m. The hearing will focus on results of an NAHC investigation into local tribes' allegations that the federal government failed to protect Native American cultural resources at the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility site.

The hearing will be in the State of California Building, 1350 Front Street, San Diego 92101 (between A and Ash Streets).  

A hearing previously set for February was cancelled without explanation. The CNAH had issued a  draft report in support of claims by the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians and Quechan Indian Nation that the Bureau of Land Management failed in its duty to protect cultural resources, including human remains and sacred sites, at the Ocotillo project.  The draft staff report detailed a disturbing pattern by the BLM, Pattern Energy and a project archaeology consultant of ignoring tribal concerns and failing in its duty to protect cultural resources. 

EAGLE KILLED AT PATTERN ENERGY WIND FARM

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Pattern Energy has claimed that a Merlin Avian Radar system at its Ocotillo Express Wind Facility will detect eagles and allow turbines to be shut down to save them from the whirling blades. Avian radar is also proposed at other wind projects proposed in East County.

But now ECM has learned that an eagle was killed at Pattern’s Spring Valley Wind project near Great Basin National Park in Nevada. According to Bureau of Land Management documents, Pattern had claimed in Appendix F, its Avian and Bat Protection Plan, that it planned to install three separate radar systems at the Spring Valley project to prevent deaths of birds and bats, including both Merlin and Vesper technology. 

Pattern did not respond to an ECM request for comment. The death, along with mounting evidence indicating avian radar is failing to protect birds at wind sites, raises serious concerns over the fate of eagles in our region, where three more wind farms are proposed in San Diego’s East County.

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