There are so many turbines in Kern County that we wouldn’t be surprised if it became the first floating city in the world. While the Kern County wind farms don’t produce as much electricity as the huge turbines in the Thames Estuary, they do produce 3 gigawatts of power – enough to power Dr. Emmett Brown’s DeLorean twice over! Take a look at what part of this huge installation looks like.
It might come as no surprise that one of the major backers of the Kerns wind farm project is Google. They have a history of investing in eco-friendly, sustainable energy projects. Google invested over $55 billion dollars in the project allowing the projects to get a $1.2 billion financing deal. The 3 gigawatts of power are enough to power nearly 1 million homes in the Kern County region.
One of the two major wind farms, the one situated at the base of the Tehachapi Pass, has come under fire from local groups that claim the turbines present a hazard for indigenous bird populations. This concern wasn’t taken lightly and the county did a full investigation of bird deaths due to the turbines for the period of 2011. They found that of the 91 large bird casualties found in the area of the turbines, only 8 of them were attributed to turbine collision. The biggest concern of turbine detractors is the death of a Golden Eagle from a turbine collision. There are several golden eagle nests near the turbine and they fear that more birds will collide with them.
The numbers make this concern seem unfounded, as the vast majority of large bird deaths were due to automobile collisions and natural predators. If the proponents of removing the turbines were serious about protecting the eagles, they would be better served by eliminating automobile traffic or trying to kill off the predators (both of which are relatively insane).
Unfortunately, not all people use the court system as a way to protest the installation of the turbines. The biggest obstacle for the installation has been vandalism. Over a period from November 2010 to July 2011, eight wind gathering stations were deliberately toppled in the middle of the night. The turbines were damaged when a person or persons snuck into the facility grounds and cut the stabilizing anchor wires. This resulted in the towers falling in the high winds. Each tower cost about $45,000 to replace and set the project back several weeks. As a result, 24 hour manned surveillance was set up at each wind tower site. Since 2011, with the new security measures, no vandalism has been reported.
It seems to us that there is little reason to be attacking wind turbines. The environmental damage done to the Eagle population is far lower than that of other industrial causes including gasoline manufacture. It seems like the turbines are being targeted because they are new and les established than the major energy production sources. What do you think? Why would people be against the use of a sustainable energy source? Does it make sense to you?