Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

By Investigative Reporter – Linda Sutter – June 15, 2023

The Del Norte County elected, specifically, the Harbor District Commissioners are attending classes in Berkeley on the Taxpayer dime to get informed about the Wind Turbine Farms that want to be placed in our Ocean views. 

IS THAT WHAT WE WANT?

Since elected officials are trying to reinvent how our county produces dollars through tourism, have they thought about what a wind turbine farm would look like in the most valuable resource of our County? Do you honestly think placing a wind farm out in our ocean blocking the views of say Point St. George Lighthouse would be aesthetically pleasing to people who are from the city wanting to get away from such ugliness?

Nantucket Rhode Island said “No” for a reason. Their original concern was regarding the whales, but they also had concerns regarding the aesthetics of the Wind Turbines in a place people come to enjoy the ocean not an industrialized ocean. 

WHAT THEY ARE NOT TELLING YOU?

What our elected officials are not telling you is the cost. According to a 9 year resident of Del Norte County who retired with 35 years managing major projects for a gas and electric company and had worked on all aspects of municipal development as well as green energy, the cost could be too much for our county to handle. 

This expert witness stated that it would take approximately $1 to $2 million dollars to lay cable per mile on the ocean floor. He said, “ The further out you go, the deeper the water, the deeper the water the more the cost to place and maintain over 200’.  Not to mention it would take approximately 6-15 years  before the project get those costs back of installation”.

MORE INVOLVED THAN IMAGINABLE

One windmill would generate 1-5 megawatts of Power at 9 mph.  The ability to connect to the power grid is the main concern and In order to get the power to customers, you would need to run underwater cables. The cables would have to connect to a substation. Currently, Del Norte County and Pacific Power has no substations available to handle the load of wind power, which means they would need to be built and Pacific Power does not have the ability to run a substation locally and would need to bring in specialized technicians. How will the wind turbine cables be connected to substations so electricity can be converted to the customer?

Substations would need to be built, most likely in Smith River, Crescent City, Hiouchi and Gasquet with the main substation in the Harbor district . How big a substation is I don’t know based on load but since we have a land management problem I don’t know where they would be built throughout Del Norte County . The Harbor would have to provide at least 5 acres to build a substation this size to receive the power. There would need to be Overhead or Underground transmission lines to transmit power to the smaller stations. Pacific Power requires easement  for their transmission lines, if these lines have to be installed on private property then eminent domain could come into effect .  Do you think Alexander Farms would approve transmission lines going through their farmland? Overhead Transmission lines have a cost $1 million dollars per one mile of line. With underground lines running at a cost of $2-3 million per mile; which the consumer may bear the cost.

The jobs are specialized and would  require bringing people from out of this county to work here. The infrastructure of this county would never be able to hold that amount of people that would come here for a few years and then leave after the job was completed. There may be 30 jobs created by the Utility company that would remain for continued maintenance of the Wind Turbines and those jobs would require specialized trained people. 

Questions to ask are:

Who will benefit from this project?

The County will receive federal dollars but what does this mean for the residents?

Will our taxes come down?

All the energy being produced will our power bill be zero?

Who is benefiting?

That is the true question.

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