wind turbines

WIND TURBINE COLLAPSES IN OCOTILLO

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Jim Pelley

November 21, 2016 (Ocotillo) – A 500-foot-tall wind turbine at the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility collapsed this morning, spewing debris and three blades each weighing many tons across the desert floor.

Photographer Jim Pelley, an Ocotillo resident, says 30 minutes after the collapse, the other 111 turbines were still spinning and no one from Pattern Energy had arrived.  Around an hour or more after the collapse, Pattern arrived and deenergized the entire project.

POWER TOWERS AND WIND TURBINES AS ART?

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Land of Giants sculptural power towers, © Choi+Shine

September 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – What if power line towers and wind turbines could be designed to resemble sculptures?  Such efforts are on the horizon, thanks to several innovative designers.

PETITION LAUNCHED TO SAVE LOCH NESS FROM WIND TURBINES

 

East County News Service

April 7, 2015 (San Diego’s East County ) – Efforts to defeat industrial-scale wind turbine projects are uniting activists world wide—including here in East County. Donna Tisdale, Boulevard’s planning group chair, recently received a note from a Scottish group called Save Loch Ness asking for media coverage in the U.S. to help save one of Scotland’s most iconic and beautiful scenic areas.  You can read or sign the petition at Www.savelochness.com and scroll down to read a press statement.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: OPTICAL ILLUSION IN OCOTILLO

 

December 18, 2014 (Ocotillo) ---Photographer Daren Sefcik sent in this intriguing image.  He states, “On just the right day and wind conditions one could believe that the wind turbines cross the road. Of course this is not true but on a certain part of the highway it can look that way.”

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.

SIERRA DE JUAREZ WIND PROJECT UNDERWAY SOUTH OF THE BORDER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Wayne Brammer: project viewed from the In-Ko-Pah/Jacumba area in East County

October 4, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Wind turbines are rising just south of the border as construction commences on the Sierra de Juarez wind energy facility in Baja California.  The 47 turbines in this phase of the Innova Energy project are projected to generate 157 megawatts of power that will be sold to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to meet our region’s energy needs.

WIND TURBINES DAMAGE EAR, SCIENTISTS FIND; LONG-TERM EXPOSURE MAY CAUSE DEAFNESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 4, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) The inner ears of people were “drastically” altered after exposure to low frequency noise. Living close to wind turbines may lead to severe hearing damage or even deafness. Those are the findings of scientists from the University of Munich, Germany, according to a study published in the Royal Society’s Open Science Journal on October 1st.

SDG&E ON TRACK TO MEET 33% RENEWABLES GOAL BY YEAR'S END

 

Photo: Wind turbines in Ocotillo dwarf resident and mountains surrounding the desert town

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Jim Avery, a senior vice president at San Diego Gas & Electric Company, says the utility will meet California’s 33% renewable energy goal by the end of 2014 – six years ahead of schedule, IT San Diego reports.

WIND TURBINE INFRASOUND BLAMED FOR AFFECTING WOMEN'S OVALUTION IN DENMARK

... and kill another small business

"All my female employees are complaining of irregular menstruations, and several have permanent headaches." (Boye Jensen, Nursery Owner, Denmark)

By Mark Duchamp, World Council for Nature

July 11, 2014 (Denmark)--The Danish press reports the case of a garden centre (nursery) going out of business because of nearby wind turbines. Headaches are frequent among employees, and female workers complain of unusual bleeding and problems with their menstruation cycles. They are worried that more serious illnesses may follow. Five have recently resigned. The owner is now closing his business for fear of being held liable should a child be born with deformities, as happened to numerous mink puppies at a fur farm near wind turbines in Jutland.

MINK MISCARRIAGES, BIRTH DEFECTS AND STILLBIRTHS HEIGHTEN CONCERNS OVER WIND TURBINES

 

Photos: Danish wind farmer blames wind turbines (left) on 1,600 stillbirths and 320 miscarriages (right) among mother minks at his farm.

By Jessica Richmond

June 18, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – From Denmark to San Diego’s East County, concerns are growing over the safety of wind turbines near pregnant women, pets and livestock. 

Unlike the chemical or food industries, the wind industry has never had to provide safety data backed by any scientific studies on potential impacts of infrasound, noise or stray voltage from wind turbines on human reproductive health or even animals.  But a growing number of deaths and deformities of baby animals near wind turbines, as well as high sterility rates in some adult animals, is heightening fears among people living near wind turbines about potential impacts on their own health—and the health of their children.

ECM has previously reported on a study that found negative impacts from wind turbines on geese and other instances where health problems among livestock were observed near wind turbines including cattle deaths, high rates of stillbirths and miscarriages among horses, chickens laying eggs with no shells, and birth defects among goats, as ECM  reported.

Most alarming, now Kaj Bank Olesen, a mink farmer in Denmark, reports staggering reproductive problems after a wind turbine was erected 328 meters away.

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?

HOT TOPIC: U.S. MAYORS REPORT ON PROGRESS TO CUT EMISSIONS THROUGH ENERGY SAVINGS & TECHNOLOGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jessica Richmond

“A majority of cities (53%) – 149 of the 282 cities – have committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the result of a mayoral pledge and/or formal city council action.”

Solar and conservation measures ranked highly by mayors, wind turbines ranked least promising

April 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently  have focused efforts on creating a plan to increase energy efficiency, while reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) and carbon emissions. The nonpartisan organization consists of mayors from 1,398 cit­ies with populations of 30,000 or more.

Under the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, signers have pledged to try and limit their cities carbon emissions, reduce GHG emissions, along with pushing local state and federal actors to “do their part” in order to help reduce environmental air pollution.  Now a new report reveals data on actions pursued in cities across America to reach these goals.

TWO SCIENTIFIC/MEDICAL PUBLICATIONS DOCUMENT NEGATIVE HEALTH IMPACTS OF WIND TURBINES

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 5, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—Evidence of negative health impacts on people living near wind turbines is mounting. An article in Principia Scientific International concludes, “There are serious adverse health effects associated with noise pollution generated by wind turbines. It is essential that separation distances between human habitation and wind turbines are increased.” The author notes that some countries are now recommending at least 3 kilometers and suggests even this distance many not be far enough, due to newer, larger turbines.

READER'S EDITORIAL: GET THE POLITICS OUT OF WIND ENERGY!

 

Originally Published in the ECOreport

by Roy L Hales

Stanford University has just published a glowing report about how Wind Farms “can provide a surplus of reliable clean energy to society.” I almost posted it. It is important to publish information that does not fit your beliefs but, in this case, I decided to voice my skepticism instead.

WIND TURBINES MAY HARM LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE, STUDY SUGGESTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Are wind turbines safe for wildlife, livestock and humans living nearby?  A new study published in the Journal of Veterinary Sciences has found that geese living near wind turbines suffered loss of appetite, weight loss, and measurable physical changes.

TWO LAWSUITS OVER LOCAL WIND ENERGY ISSUES HEAD TO COURT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 28, 2014 (San Diego) – Opponents of  the Tule Wind project in McCain Valley will have their day in court on Monday, March 3 in San Diego’s U.S. District Court.  Then on April 25, a separate suit against the County over its wind energy ordinance and general plan amendment will also be heard.

The suits were filed by the Protect Our Communities Foundation and Donna Tisdale. Tisdale informed ECM that it's important to have many East County residents attend these trials.

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.

EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE DEALS BLOW TO GROUP REPRESENTING CITIZENS BATTLING WIND FARMS

 

“Armed groups have more rights than wind farm victims.”-- Mark Duchamp of EPAW

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2014 (Europe)—The European Court of Justice has dismissed a legal challenge filed by a group representing wind farm victims and found the group lacks legal standing—also ordering the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) to pay legal costs for Brussels, Belgium. The decision is certain to have a chilling effect and prevents appeal, since that would force people claiming harm from wind turbines to risk losing their homes and other assets.

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.

WIND FIRE: NEW QUESTIONS RAISED OVER WIND TURBINE BLAZE IN CAMPO

 

Part II in our "Wind Fire" series

By Miriam Raftery

December 17, 2013 (Campo) – Yesterday’s explosion and brush fire sparked by a Gamesa wind turbine owned by Infigen at the Kumeyaay Wind facility in Campo, California has ignited new questions about the safety of wind turbines in this fire-prone region, where several of the worst wildfires in California history have previously scorched hundreds of thousands of acres.

In June, Infigen settled a lawsuit with Gamesa stemming from an earlier catastrophe at the same wind facility in 2009, when an explosive blast resulted in replacement of all 75 wind turbines, as ECM reported in an exclusive report.  But now Boulevard Planning Group Chair Donna Tisdale reveals, “The 75 turbine blades from the 2009 catastrophic failure that you covered are still laying on the ground at the wind farm and are highly flammable.”

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.

WINDS OF CHANGE: THREE COURTS HOLD WIND INDUSTRY RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – For years, wind developers operated with impunity, not held responsible for harm to people, wildlife or communities. But a trio of landmark court rulings this month indicate a shift, with judges holding wind developers liable for the first time for impacts on human health, protected birds, and rural character. 

In a landmark ruling today, a judge in Falmouth, Massachusetts ordered the town's three wind turbines shut off at night, on Sundays and on holidays to protect the health of residents.  ‘‘This is believed to be the first time that a court in the U.S. has ruled that there is sufficient evidence that wind turbines near residential areas are a health hazard to families living nearby,’’ said Virginia Irvine, president of Wind Wise Massachusetts..  The judge ruled that  operation of the turbines nonstop put residents at risk of ‘‘irreparable physical and psychological harm.”  Neighbors had complained of negative health impacts since the turbines were built.

Also this week, in the first-ever criminal prosecution of a wind company for illegal bird kills under the Migratory Treat Act,  Duke Energy Reneawbles Inc. pled guilty and was ordered to pay a million dollars. Duke's wind projects in Wyoming slaughtered 14 golden eagles and  149 other protected birds. See Department of Justice release on the fine.

 

MASSIVE BAT KILLS REVEALED AT WIND PROJECTS

 

November 11, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Wind turbines killed over 600,000 bats last year in the United States. That’s according to BioScience, which made the projection based on the startling number of dead bats found at 21 facilities.  The number could be even higher, nearly a million bat deaths, according to the author, Mark Hayes at the University of Colorado.

READER'S EDITORIAL: WE GRIEVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editor's note: We received this editorial  from a Canadian reader in response to our coverage of the Ocotillo Wind Energy Project's impacts on our local desert and the people of Octoillo. 

By Catherine Bayne, Bayniche Conservancy

We grieve for you and yours, for the desert, the world and for the future.  The wind war stories are fundamentally the same from everywhere, the disillusionment pervasive.  

How could corruption of such magnitude flourish under the UN? We forgot that, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance"

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.

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

SOURCE: CAMPO TRIBE VOTES DOWN SHU’LUUK WIND

By Miriam Raftery

June 20, 2013 (Campo) – By a 34-44 margin, the Campo tribe’s General Council has voted against the Shu’luuk Wind project, a proposal to lease reservation land to Invenergy, according to  Donna Tisdale, Chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group.  Tisdale indicated she has multiple sources on the vote outcome.

ECM  has contacted the Campo Band of Mission Indians to request comment on the outcome.

The project may not be  dead, however, as proponents hope to have another vote in the future.

READER'S EDITORIAL: THE WIND DEBATE

 

By Supervisor Dave Roberts

June 13, 2013 (San Diego)--On May 15th, the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that establishes a rigorous process to install wind turbines. By a 4-1 vote, Supervisors agreed to strict guidelines. Our action did not approve a single, specific project.

My vote to adopt the ordinance came after much careful consideration.

As Dr. Dan Silver of the Endangered Habitats League said during his testimony, "wind energy presents a conundrum."

On one hand, I am very supportive of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gasses.  On the other, I am concerned about the significant, unmitigable impacts of large wind turbines.

WIND TURBINE COMPANY SUES WOMAN OVER PARODY

 

 

Activist who filmed removal of bald eagle nest by wind developer faces multi-million lawsuit

By Miriam Raftery and Sholeh Sisson

June 5, 2013 (Ontario, Canada) -- Esther Wrightman, the Canadian activist who documented Nextera Energy's removal of a bald eagle nest to make way for wind turbines, now faces a multi-million dollar lawsuit by the multi-national corporation.  Why?  Because she created a parody version of the company's logo which read "NexTerror" and "NextError." 

The company makes the bizarre claim that Wrightman's logo on a wind resistance blog could somehow confuse its corporate customers.  But supporters of Wrightman contend the suit's real motivation is to silence a strong voice of dissent.  Nextera also pressured Wordpress to remove the logos, but Wordpress has put the logos back up, finding that no law was broken.

View a video report from the Sun News Network in Canada with many details on this story:  http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/2434478593001

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