Update on wind and solar plants in California and North Dakota – solar #34

A few updates on a few slice/dice/fry projects, as one observer calls them:


11/4 – ReWire – “Dead” Solar Plant May Rise From Grave – The joint owners of the Palen Solar Electric Generating System pulled their plan recently. One of the owners (Abengoa Solar) will buy out the other (Brightstar), revise the design, and resubmit their plan. That is the announced goal. The wing-toasting facility will be redesigned with one tower and the ability to store electricity using molten salt.

This would be Palen plan #3. The first was parabolic solar. The second was 3 warming towers. This will be only one solar collecting tower plus storage capacity.

10/30 – ReWire – Wind Project Pulled from San Bernardino MountainsPlans to install 71 turbines with capacity to simultaneously generate 126MW of electricity and kill uncountable numbers of eagles and migratory birds were withdrawn by the project’s owners. The slice-and-dicers would have gone in near Apple Valley. Two San Bernardino county commissioners vocally opposed the plan asserting it would kill large numbers of bald eagles, golden eagles, migratory birds, and bats. Remember, that is a well-known feature of wind power.

North Dakota

11/7 – Dickinson Press – Getting a Second wind: Wind farm project revived after lawsuit; developer working on permit related to whooping crane – Proposal for the Merricourt Project is 75 turbines at 2MW each on 10,960 acres near Ellendale, ND, which is on the eastern side of the state, next to the South Dakota border. That would be 17.1 square miles with an average density of 4.4 turbines per square mile. From base to the blade tip would be 427 feet – high enough to be seen for miles around.

Site is also in the migration path for endangered whooping cranes, of which there are 300 left in the wild. Threatened piping plover are known to nest about three miles away.

Fish and Wildlife Service recommended against the project since it is an “adverse effect to whooping cranes is likely.” Killing a whooping crane earns a $100,000 fine and a year in the pen.

Project owner is trying to get a permit for “incidental taking”, meaning they could get official permission to kill a whooping crane once in a while without penalty. They are also considering whether to proceed without a permit and take on the financial risk.

12/17 – Dickinson Press – N.D. regulators approve $240M wind farm – Public Service Commission approved Antelope Hills Wind Project to install 86 turbines generating conceptual maximum output of 172MW at expected cost of $240M.

Construction info:

  • $1.39M per megawatt capacity
  • $2.79M per slice-and-dicer
  • 2MW capacity per tower

Project will cover 22,000 acres, or 1 tower for each 255.8 acres, or 2.5 slice-and-dicers per square mile.

Company has a 25 year contract to sell all its output to Basin Electric Power Cooperative in Bismarck.

Company will also install a 9.5 mile transmission tower to tie the turbines into  a coal plant near Beulah. That will get the electricity into the Basin system.

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