Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

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Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project
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By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday evening to deny three appeals and approve the Strauss Wind Project in Lompoc.

Supervisors voted 4-0 with Supervisor Peter Adam recusing himself. They heard three appeals filed by neighbors and others concerned about negative impacts on surrounding nature and wildlife after the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission approved the project in November.

BayWa's 98 megawatts Strauss Wind Project will be Santa Barbara County's first wind farm, located in the hills south of Lompoc. 

The project plans to place 29 wind turbines that are nearly 500 feet tall on approximately 3,000 acres near Miguelito Canyon and a 5,000 square foot operations building. This is the same location as the previously-approved Lompoc Wind Energy Project from 2009 that was scrapped due to the recession. 

The turbines can produce enough electricity for 43,000 homes and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40,000 metric tons per year. It also provides an estimated $40 million in tax revenue over the project's 30-year life span, creates 150 temporary construction jobs and 4 to 6 permanent jobs, and will allow local ranchers to continue agricultural operations while receiving supplemental income, according to the project's supporters.

Construction is slated to begin in early 2020.

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Shasta Guy Jan 31, 2020 07:19 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

For those infatuated with the idea that vast numbers of wind turbines will create energy nirvana, you need to pay attention to what’s happening in Germany with their “Energiewende” of which wind power is a substantial component. Germany is on the road to economic suicide because they are trying to run a large scale industrial economy with intermittent and costly wind and solar power. ****

https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-failure-on-the-road-to-a-renewable-future-a-1266586.html ****

https://www.ft.com/content/d8b9b0bc-04a6-11ea-a984-fbbacad9e7dd ****

https://www.dw.com/en/german-wind-energy-stalls-amid-public-resistance-and-regulatory-hurdles/a-50280676 ****

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/05/06/the-reason-renewables-cant-power-modern-civilization-is-because-they-were-never-meant-to/#27510618ea2b ****

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2019/11/04/commentary/world-commentary/germanys-windmills-wildly-unpopular/#.XjTqOS-IahA

Shasta Guy Feb 01, 2020 06:11 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

Plans are one thing, but reality is what matters. Once Germany takes their last reliable electrical generation sources offline, they’ll either start to freeze in the dark or have astronomical electric bills as the are forced to import power from France and others. People are beginning to pushback against the blighting of the landscape caused by all the wind turbines.

macpuzl Jan 31, 2020 11:12 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

For those who want to learn about Germany's ambitious energy de-carbonization plans, without the added FUD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energiewende

Chip of SB Jan 31, 2020 11:02 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

Just imagine for a moment that an oil, mining, or other industrial company tried to build dozens of 500 foot tall structures near the coast that would be visible from Jalama beach. Even if the structures were not going to kill countless birds, wouldn't you be outraged? I suspect there would even be protests. Why does a so called "green energy" company get a free pass on this? Are we really doing all this because of a fear of CO2 and nuclear energy? I think this carbon religion has gone way too far. A harmless gas that we all exhale and that is absorbed by plants is now somehow being used as justification for a massive project that is impractical, uneconomical, and environmentally destructive. Call me a denier, but I think all you carbon believers out there have been had. I predict that within the next 10 years it will be conclusively proven that CO2 is not causing dangerous climate change, sea level rise, etc. I hope that happens before we allow too many more environmentally destructive projects like this are completed. There are countless real environmental problems that need to be addressed, yet we continue to waste all our energy on CO2.

a-1580540332 Jan 31, 2020 10:58 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

CHIP OF SB: For your much needed enlightenment: Black carbon is a potent climate-warming component of particulate matter formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood and other fuels. This is NOT what humans and other animals exhale. That "carbon" is carbon dioxide = CO2.

a-1580511509 Jan 31, 2020 02:58 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

It’s unfortunate the energy they produce is under contract for many years to a different county hundreds of miles away.... SB will deal with the impacts and receive property taxes, because after all that’s what the county is after. But these windmills will not contribute to local clean energy for 15 years.

a-1580498501 Jan 31, 2020 11:21 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

CHIP - the bottom line is yes, we would be upset if more oil, mining or other dirty industrial company did this. Why? Because we do not want more non-sustainable, polluting industry on our coast. We can stomach the cost of the view (not that bad) and some adverse affects to wildlife in the name of *clean* and sustainable energy. It's not about the wind turbines, it's about the energy they produce. It's about embracing the move toward CLEAN and sustainable energy. There will be no oil spills, no meltdowns, no toxic smoke billowing into our air. Just infinite wind.

macpuzl Jan 31, 2020 11:11 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

I suggest you learn a little bit about how CO2 affects the global environment before you continue to flout your ignorance. https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

Sal15puedes Jan 31, 2020 09:28 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

Until silent invisible zero impact energy sources come along, in order to replace dirty energy (which is causing catastrophic impact to local and global wildlife) we are going to need lots and lots of large renewable energy projects. It's going to take conservation solar wind and more to wean us from dirty energy which is causing historic surges in extinctions (that should send a chill up any animal lovers spine) and is making our planet more inhospitable to humans every minute. We are currently committing terracide in the name of greed. Dirty energy projects completely degrade the local site and leave it devastated when it's over. Renewable energy sites have exponentially less local (and global) impact and produce energy forever, as the technology evolves the sites will be there for use as long as the wind blows and the sun shines. Those turbines represent ecological sanity. This part time boutique environmentalism here in the supposed home of American environmentalism is alarming, disturbing and hypocritical. Unless you seriously believe CO2's are good for us. We needed to stand behind the science and take real action 30 years ago, time is of the essence.

Shasta Guy Jan 30, 2020 09:09 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

This is an opportunity for the avian minded to document the impact wind turbines have on our local bird and bat life. How many eagle, raptors, and even condor deaths are acceptable? I read and article about how the noise from sea based wind turbine farms are interfering with the navigation and communication of sea life such as whales.

sacjon Jan 31, 2020 08:50 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

CHICO - yes, modern wind turbines are able to rotate into the wind (some automatically, some by control) and even feather their blades accordingly to maximize their efficiency. They're pretty amazing things!

chico berkeley Jan 31, 2020 08:48 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

Between November and March, it is offshore till about 10 AM almost everyday.
The wind either dies out or goes onshore after that.
Between march and November it is mostly onshore.
Anybody know if these can be turned to face the wind no matter what direction it comes from?
Seems in the 21st century they would be flexible like that.

a-1580432271 Jan 30, 2020 04:57 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

We shut beaches down so a few snowy plover eggs are not accidentally trampled, but now we are going to set up a squadron of gigantic buzzsaws to kill thousands and thousands of birds each year? Just so you can have enough electricity to power up the things we do not need? Progressive? I think not. Think green...not wrong.

a-1580439947 Jan 30, 2020 07:05 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

4:57 - what "things that we do not need" do you think will be powered by this project? Like homes? Hospitals? Police stations? You know, things that rely on electricity....?

PitMix Jan 30, 2020 03:35 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

The strangest thing I have seen recently is the connection of unions to development and fossil fuel, because those are the only industries that can afford to pay union salaries and benefits. So if you are pro-renewable energy and pro-environment and anti-development, you are anti-union. I guess that's what the organizers intended when they formed unions to protect the brotherhood?

a-1580421267 Jan 30, 2020 01:54 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

Oil company puts up netting on service pier and entangles a couple of swallows, and the enviros lose their marbles. Wind generators butcher birds by the millions, and the enviros celebrate. The reality is that they do not care about killing birds, they care about who is doing the killing. Very strange indeed.

a-1580440109 Jan 30, 2020 07:08 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

Chip - So much for the whole "concern about birds" from your President. This faux "outrage" about wildlife from the right is a joke. Check this out ----- https://www.npr.org/2020/01/30/801382383/white-house-moves-to-formally-decriminalize-accidentally-killing-birds?utm_term=nprnews&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=npr ------

PitMix Jan 30, 2020 03:32 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

2:05 is talking about the falsehoods like a couple of swallows, the butchering of millions of birds, and the celebrating, and not caring about birds. That is all wrongwing extremist attack dialogue. We do care about who is doing the killing in all cases. But I doubt you are interested in accuracy- just trying to troll.

Chip of SB Jan 30, 2020 03:16 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

2:05 - Actually, there is a lot of truth to 1:54s post. Swallows got caught in the bird netting on Venoco's pier at Elwood. There was outrage in the comments section, and people were scrambling to report it to various government agencies. https://www.edhat.com/news/swallows-entrapped-in-netting-under-venoco-piers Here is a follow up article. As a result of the complaints, the netting was removed. https://www.edhat.com/news/nets-removed-from-venoco-pier Apparently the sentiment is more anti-oil than pro-bird, because the windmills will do far more harm to wildlife than the bird netting on the pier and I am not sensing any outrage here about it.

a-1580402081 Jan 30, 2020 08:34 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

I love how conservatives all of a sudden become "concerned" about wildlife, the environment and endangered species when it comes to wind power posing a threat to their beloved coal industry.

Chip of SB Jan 30, 2020 01:10 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

12:48: you're right. Any animals that are dumb enough to fly into turbine blades deserve to die. Causing the extinction of those species is actually doing the world a favor. Darwin would be proud.

a-1580417320 Jan 30, 2020 12:48 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

CHIP.... birds have eyes and generally watch where they are going and can be pretty adept at avoiding vehicles going 60+mph. Some don't as seen by the carcasses on the side of a freeway but running into a slow moving windmill vane earns a bird the equivalent of a Darwin Award.

a-1580412695 Jan 30, 2020 11:31 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

CHIP - so you're solution is nuclear. Well, not much to say other than if a wind turbine breaks, hundreds of thousands of people aren't irradiated. So there's that.

Chip of SB Jan 30, 2020 10:20 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

8:34, you are implying that so called "conservatives" are out to make money at any environmental cost. That is simply not the case. I care deeply about the environment. The question is, what makes the biggest impact and how can we do the most good. Rational people can come to different conclusions. I think that carbon and CO2 is very trendy right now, and that our obsession with it blinds people to other environmental harm. Covering 3000 acres of pristine CA landscape with 500 foot tall bird blenders is ugly and destructive. To put that in perspective, Storke tower is 175 feet tall!!! Here is a presentation that shows renderings of what the project will look like. One notable change is the view from Jalama beach, just scroll down to the impact slides to see. https://cosantabarbara.app.box.com/s/q97rv82305oyfnbdjhcyxrrdhu3dgkqy/file/562008008770 And for all this environmental impact, it has a generation capacity of only 98 megawatts. Diablo canyon occupies a 900 acre site, of which the power plant occupies just 12 acres. Its twin reactors produce 2,200 mw of power. It can do that day and night, whether the wind blows or not. If it takes 3000 acres of windmills to produce 98 megawatts, it would require about 67,000 acres of land to match diablo canyon's generation capacity. Then consider that Diablo Canyon is only 8.6% of California's generation capacity. In order replace all of California's power generation with wind, it would require close to 800,000 acres of wind farms. I would prefer a few more nuclear plants. Will be a bummer to go to Jalama beach and see giant windmills killing birds in the distance instead of unspoiled mountains...

a-1580367503 Jan 29, 2020 10:58 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

"29% fewer birds in the U.S. and Canada than in 1970
North America has lost almost 3 billion birds over the past 5 decades"
(source: National Audubon Society)-------------So what do we care if these wind turbines turn the landscape into killing fields? Humans are the only animals that matter, right?

a-1580432851 Jan 30, 2020 05:07 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

JAN 30, 2020 12:56 PM And where did "Anyone" post that it was only wind turbines and cats killing off billions of birds? Humans are killing off fellow Earthlings left, right and center. Adding these turbines certainly isn't going to help birds or bats in any way, that's for sure.

a-1580417789 Jan 30, 2020 12:56 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

Anyone who thinks the loss of 3 billion birds in 50 years all over N.America is caused by cats and windmills and ignores hunters, habitat loss or (gosh forbid) environmental degradation and pollution is too simple minded to be taken seriously... a one trick pony, if you will.

RHS Jan 30, 2020 09:54 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

It is not just feral cats that cause the problem. This is important. People with "pet" cats defend the need to let the cat out of the home and off leash as somehow a divine right of felines. When these pets roam around, day or night, they are stalking and killing. It is what they do.

a-1580404071 Jan 30, 2020 09:07 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

I am absolutely positive that domestic cats kill multiple times the number of birds than do wind farms. The double standard noted above is pretty apparent. Select a fact you want to use and ignore facts that you do not like. Post the favored fact and beat your chest with sanctimonious thumps.

SBWalkers Jan 30, 2020 06:45 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

...5483 ... "Our scientists are still reviewing this particular study," says Audubon spokesman David Ringer. He says his group strongly supports "properly sited wind power as a renewable energy source that helps reduce the threat posed to birds and people by climate change." He says it has helped develop guidelines for the wind industry to minimize harm to wildlife.

a-1580361844 Jan 29, 2020 09:24 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

I am fairly certain I read that power generated by this project has already been committed to Marin County for the first 15 years . SB County won’t benefit from this so called renewable source ( other than property taxes) for years. By that time half it’s life will be over. 29 windmills which are 500 ft tall and made of steel set in massive concrete footings will have to be replaced in 30 years? Where does steel cone from again? Wonder how much steel and concrete will be needed...Wonder how big the carbon footprint of steel production is?

Chip of SB Jan 30, 2020 10:43 AM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

You make an excellent point 9:24. Here is an NPR article about the wind turbine waste problem. https://www.npr.org/2019/09/10/759376113/unfurling-the-waste-problem-caused-by-wind-energy

macpuzl Jan 29, 2020 09:37 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

Zeny -
The life-cycle costs of hydrocarbon technologies, and the vast subsidies they are given, are swept under the rug by advocates of big carbon. Do a comparison, you'll see that the 20-25 years of energy produced by a wind technology installation is essentially free compared to the ongoing operational costs of a fossil fuel plant. Fossil fuel advocates demonstrate blinkered vision colored by political opinion, rather than facts-based decision-making.
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https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/advantages-and-challenges-wind-energy
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https://www.nrel.gov/analysis/assets/images/lca_harm_ng_fig_2.jpg

a-1580348295 Jan 29, 2020 05:38 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

Big whup in that a few gnats will die when struck by the blades. Do you want more fracking & oil drilling here in SB County or green, silent energy-producing wind power? It's a no brainer!

Chip of SB Jan 29, 2020 03:58 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

This will surely transform the landscape. An inconspicuous, clean burning natural gas power plant could produce the power without occupying 3000 acres, and it probably will have to anyway to keep the power on when the wind isn't blowing. Has anyone evaluated how this wind farm will impact wildlife, specifically the birds it is likely to kill?

oceandrew Jan 30, 2020 01:19 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

CHIP... you obviously prefer the sight of a nuclear power plant or traditional fossil fuel burning power plant over a windmill farm generating clean energy, but albeit less of it. Neither of the plants you prefer are cheap or long lasting. Nuclear waste still poses problems of transport and storage as well as terrorist misappropriation. I wonder if the residents of 3 Mile Island, Fukushima or Chernobyl would've preferred a wind or solar farm nearby instead. 50 years on a lot of nukes are being decommissioned in the US and as fossil fuels become scarcer so will your natural gas burning plants leaving what exactly? We've got to start somewhere.

macpuzl Jan 29, 2020 08:54 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

SoCalGas can see the handwriting on the wall for carbon-based fuels, so they've started an astroturf group promoting the continued use of natural gas. Their talking points include the phrases "balanced energy sourcing" and "clean burning natural gas".
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https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-08-10/socalgas-astroturf-cpuc-aliso-canyon

a-1580344635 Jan 29, 2020 04:37 PM
Board of Supervisors Approve Lompoc Wind Project

CHIP - Part of the permitting process for one of these wind farms is EXTENSIVE environmental review. There are countless hours of wildlife mitigation studies that go into getting the go ahead to develop these things. Additionally, there are numerous devices available to deter and deflect birds, flying mammals and even insects. These turbines aren't just put up willy nilly.

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