Tag Archives: Ocotillo Wind Farm

Revisiting Ocotillo

By Roy L Hales

The Ocotillo wind farm went online almost five years ago. Were they not documented in such meticulous detail, some of the  reports coming from the tiny desert community this project surrounds would be difficult to believe.  I once received a constant stream of YouTube videos and reports. It was one of the sites that shaped my perception of the energy sector.  To some extent, I’ve moved on from this story, but I always knew I would be revisiting Ocotillo.
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Red-Tailed Hawk At The Ocotillo Wind Farm

By Roy L Hales

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 3.43.47 PMJim Pelley sent in some photos of a red-tailed hawk at the Ocotillo Wind farm in California. This is not the first raptor sighted in the wind farm, which straddles a migration flyway used by golden eagles.

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The Next Big Issue Is Social License

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1The transition to renewable energy is coming faster than most people realize. The technological advances that make it the adoption of larger amounts of intermittent energy possible are also needed to reinvigorate North America’s aging grid. Though there is still much resistance from corporations and governments with vested interests, the future of the fossil fuel sector lies in finding ways to fit into a more environmentally sensitive economy. The struggle to avoid Climate Change is not over. There are still many battles ahead, but the outcome has been decided. The next big issue is social license.

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Wind turbine Fire at Ocotillo

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1On January 15, there was a wind turbine fire at Ocotillo, CA.  The incident might have been less significant anywhere else, but this wind project has been having problems ever since it went online.

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Germany’s Wind industry is not like Southern California’s

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1The sheer number of wind turbines in Germany is overwhelming! When the clouds open, they are often visible from the windows of a jet entering the country. Though they are primarily a rural phenomenon, there are about 60 turbines in the city of Hamburg. Some of the behemoths in Mecklenbourg-Verpommern have a capacity of 7.5 MW,  more than twice the 3 MW found in North America. Yet, speaking as one of a group of journalists touring renewable installations recently, unless you are standing directly underneath a turbine was difficult to pick out the “whoosh” of their whirling blades from other ambient sounds. Germany’s wind industry is an integral part of the nation’s energy revolution, which at least 56% of the respondents to a poll taken in 2013 said was “the right thing to do.” Only 10% were actually opposed. Germany’s Wind industry is not like Southern California’s.

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The Other Opponents of Wind Energy

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1Yesterday, Ohio’s Governor, John Kasich signed Senate Bill 310, freezing Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards for two years. The Ohio State House previously passed SB 310 by a 53-38 vote. This  prompted the usual round of conspiracy theories about ALEC and the Koch brothers. It is really time to look at the other opponents of wind energy.
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The Ocotillo Wind Farm Keeps limping On

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1The Ocotillo Wind Farm keeps limping on. According to a recent article in East County Magazine, the site was producing just under 18% of capacity during the first quarter of 2014. As that was the windy season, it seems unlikely that Ocotillo will beat the slightly less than 16% average they set for the first for year of operation (2013). Then there is what the Bureau of Land Management keeps refering to as “general maintenance.”
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The Production Tax Credit is a Modern Day Gordian Knot

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1The “Tea Party” has been holding back approval of an $85 billion tax package since December, because it includes a $13 billion production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy. They claim that after “tens of billions of tax-payer dollars,” it is time to end “this sweetheart deal.” That’s an interesting sentiment, coming from people who apparently have no objection to letting oil producers continue to use “tens of billions of tax-payer dollars” every year. A broad spectrum of business leaders, and the governors of at least four states, are concerned about the impact delaying the PTC has had, and is having, on their economies. There is also opposition to wind farms from some environmentalists and many of the communities where they have been installed. The Production Tax Credit is a modern day Gordian knot.

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The Wind Turbines worked at Ocotillo

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMThe wind turbines at Ocotillo, in Imperial count California,  were spinning for at least part of  monday. That isn’t news, as they operate at least 15% of the time, but look at the dust in the video below. This project “went online” over 16 months ago and Ocotillo is still being hit by dust storms whenever there is a decent “blow.”
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California: Hide and Seek at Ocotillo

By Roy L Hales

the ECOreport Logo
the ECOreport Logo

The Ocotillo Wind Project may be one of the best documented “renewable projects” in the USA. Workers cannot even pee in the surrounding desert without having to worry about their being filmed by one of the village’s inhabitants. There is good reason for that. Many of villagers moved to Ocotillo because of tranquility. Only the village is surrounded by “public land” and, because of the Obama Administration’s push on renewable energy, they are now surrounded by 438 foot high wind turbines. Most of the time the blades are still, but when the turbines do turn they emit a roar which has been compared to that of a jet airplane. The towers have red lights that blink throughout the night. After the desert was torn up, a plague of dust storms., floods and white foam was unleashed upon the inhabitants. The project went online 15 months ago. Yet there are  constant  problems and the inhabitants of Ocotillo have filmed most of them.
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