Wind energy faces turbulent future in desert
Sammy Roth — The Desert Sun — November 24, 2014
For renewable energy advocates and environmental groups, few questions are more divisive than the impact of wind turbines on desert wildlife.
Trade organizations see wind development as something of a climate change panacea: an abundant, relatively inexpensive clean energy source that doesn’t disturb most wildlife. Conservationists, though, argue that wind turbines pose a major threat to birds, and that they can disrupt the habitats of ground-dwelling species.
Those groups clashed during the drafting of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, and the conservationists seem to have come out ahead. Wind advocates have argued that as it’s currently written, the plan — which does not cover the Coachella Valley — would kill most new wind development in the state.
State and federal regulators spent nearly six years working on the 8,000-page document, which would divide 22.5 million acres of California desert into areas designated for renewable energy, conservation and recreation. During that time, the California Wind Energy Association submitted several proposals outlining the areas it sees as having the best wind resources.
But in the draft plan’s “preferred alternative,” just 15 percent of those areas are included in possible renewable energy zones, according to the wind association’s executive director, Nancy Rader. (Continue reading here…..)
Photos Courtesy of Ocotillo Wind Turbine Destruction, in the Ocotillo Desert, California showing the ongoing problem of oil leaks from the 112 turbines at that wind compound. Oil leaks are just one of the many environmental issues involving this one wind facility. Visit the Ocotillo FB page to see many others that the nearby residents are documenting.