Wind Turbines are multiplying at an immense pace as wind developers expand, because of the high winds that thrust through the Tehachapi Mountain range. Kern County has the highest concentration of wind farms in the nation at this point eclipsing the Altamont pass in Northern California.
Terra-Gen Power is planning hundreds and maybe thousands of wind turbines for its Alta Wind Energy Center, while, Helo Energy is planning to build 450 wind turbines. This green energy expansion is creating resistance from local residents. There are thousands of wind turbines today in the Tehachapi Valley already. They currently dominate the landscape, so thousands of additional towers will continue to change the views.
There are a number of activist groups galvanizing to try to halt the expansion. They complain of the issues with potential land erosion because of the removal of trees, the environmental impact to bird life. It is the never ending loss of beautiful views that the area is known for. It is a similar complaint of any rural destruction; we want development, but not here. According to the LA Times article by year’s end $2.2 billion will be put into the Kern County economy and the Alta Project will inject $30 million in taxes. Those are jobs the area does want, and revenues for the county and state governments.
We feel for the local residents as there community has changed and will continue to do so. There home prices may also be affected, as less people will want to live in the area. This area is full of rolling hills and mountains, with ranches and livestock grazing. It certainly is an ideal area for wind energy productions as the terrain creates a natural and continual gust of free energy. Land owners have benefited greatly as they can lease their ranch land and it still allows cattle to graze. Most of this area has been unused rural and vacant land, but no more.
There is a give and take with development, and in this case green development. We don’t think the locals will win, as the California’s State government is fully behind it. Governor Schwarzenegger signed executive order S-21-09 under AB32 giving authority to the bill to enforce 33% of the States energy to come from renewable sources. Senate Bill X1-2 signed by Governor Brown codified 33% by 2020.
This infusion of over 2 billion in development, jobs and Kern County tax revenue is a green boom to the area. It also shows that buying land and waiting for development even in rural areas like Tehachapi can be a profitable venture.