Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tehachapi California Wind Energy Explosion and Conflict with Property Owners

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.

Monday, August 1, 2011

BYD Ltd Electric’s Technology for Los Angeles County and Lancaster California’s Jobs Future

The city of Lancaster and BYD (Build Your Dreams) has been in discussion since early last year for a potential electric car manufacturing plant in Lancaster Ca. The city sent a delegation to China for that purpose in 2010. BYD manufactures an electric crossover vehicle called the e6 electric and said it expected to start selling the car in the U.S. The city of Lancaster would like BYD to manufacture and assemble this vehicle and others in Antelope Valley. Also, during the Schwarzenegger administration there was talk of the city of Los Angeles pledging to buy BYD manufactured electric buses if the plant was based in LA County. BYD has yet to make any formal announcements regarding their plans. Although, they have established a US headquarters in the city of Los Angeles, and expect up to 2000 employees over time to administer their US operations in their downtown Los Angeles location.
They further set up roots by establishing a collaborative partnership to develop a grid-scale battery project for renewable energy storage with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) last year. Also, about a year ago the City of Lancaster, BYD and KB Home announced the completion of a new earth-friendly prototype home utilizing BYD’s solar, battery and LED Lighting systems. The plan is to potentially lead to more affordable solar electricity and energy storage options for homeowners. The city accelerated the development process through the planning department, so KB and BYD could construct the prototype home immediately. The manufacturing and assembly of electric cars and buses would certainly be a boom for the city of Lancaster and Los Angeles County; as such a move would create jobs and future growth to a city that was damaged by the housing crisis.
BYD was founded by Wang Chuan-Fu in 1995 in Shenzhen, China. He is a chemist and part of the Chinese Dream as he raised $300,000 from relatives to manufacture rechargeable batteries. Since then BYD has become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cell-phone batteries. They have also raised $250 million from Warren Buffet toward their e6 vehicle. They plan on manufacturing 800,000 e6 cars powered by lithium-ion batteries, where they indicate they intend to start selling the e6 in the US at a price of about $40,000.
In addition they have established a solar cell and solar panel technology, where they would like to establish their solar systems in combination with large energy storage systems that they currently develop. Based on news reports they plan on moving rapidly in developing and expanding in the solar panel arena. This relationship with the city of Lancaster works well as solar is expanding in the valley and Mayor Parrish projects that Lancaster will produce more energy than it consumes with its solar expansion.

We will wait and see if BYD expands manufacturing in the Antelope Valley, but the prospect looks promising for real estate and land values if the projects develop here.