Monday, September 1, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Solano board extends ban on large renewable energy projects

By
From page A1 | December 04, 2013 |

FAIRFIELD — Solano County has extended a moratorium on new, large-scale commercial solar- and wind-energy projects in rural areas for another 10 months with the stated goals of protecting Travis Air Force Base and farming.

The Solano County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the extension by unanimous vote for the large renewable energy projects that feed utilities. It also added a new wrinkle – a ban on new wireless communication towers more than 200 feet tall.

Supervisors on Nov. 5 passed an urgency law putting the ban in place for 45 days, the longest term possible at the time. They have discussed extending the ban in increments allowed under state law until the county completes land use studies. Tuesday’s action was the latest step.

The moratorium isn’t a ban, it’s a timeout, Supervisor John Vasquez said. He mentioned the effects that large commercial renewable energy projects such as wind turbines in certain areas could have on Travis Air Force Base.

“The issue of encroachment, it’s an ongoing thing,” Vasquez said. “It’s like being pecked to death . . .”

He also mentioned the effects that large-scale solar projects could have on farming.

Supervisor Jim Spering said that at the end of the process, the county will have certainty on what sites can be used for renewable energy. He’s not for a permanent ban countywide, though he did talk of having a “clear zone” near Travis.

“Taking a timeout for a year to protect Travis Air Force Base and agriculture for future generations is something I think is reasonable,” Spering said.

Supervisor Skip Thomson supported the moratorium. But he didn’t want to rule out county staff working with a solar energy applicant on what might become a pilot project that could provide information to the county.

“My reason for wanting to look at this is it could set the standard for solar projects in Solano County,” Thomson said.

The county already has hundreds of energy-generating wind turbines in the Montezuma Hills between Suisun City and Rio Vista. There has been talk of building still more turbines, as well as building solar farms near Travis Air Force Base and on Ryer Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

But Travis Air Force Base last spring opened an assault landing strip for C-17 planes. It now has low-flying planes doing drills east of the base. Base officials have expressed concern about the prospect of 400-foot-tall wind turbines being built in this area.

In addition, base officials have raised concerns about glare from large commercial solar wind farms. There are also ongoing concerns about wind turbines affecting base radar.

Finally, county officials and farmers have expressed concern about losing prime farmland to large solar arrays.

Solano County plans to update its laws to address these situations. This includes updating the county’s Travis Air Force Base Land Use Compatibility Plan over the coming two years.

Former Fairfield Mayor Karin MacMillan urged the board to extend the moratorium. MacMillan was involved in a mid-1990s growth dispute, when she and other citizens fought to keep Fairfield homes from being built near Travis Air Force Base.

“I’m sorry I have to be here today,” MacMillan told supervisors. “I was hoping we wouldn’t have to deal with issues that might affect Travis again.”

Suisun City resident George Guynn said the moratorium should be permanent. He mentioned the estimated annual financial impact that the base has on the county.

“Let’s make this real simple – Travis adds about $1.5 billion to the local economy here,” Guynn said.

But Britta von Oesen saw the issue differently. She addressed the board on behalf of Gestamp Solar, which has proposed to build a solar energy farm on agricultural land a few miles from Travis Air Force Base.

Gestamp under existing state laws must prove it can mitigate for any adverse impact, von Oesen said. Travis Air Force Base hasn’t asked for a ban on solar facilities, she said.

“You’re simply sending a message to the industry that solar is not welcome,” she said.

Terry Tamminen, former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, said in a letter that the county should evaluate renewable energy on a case-by-case basis. Nonreflective solar panels low to the ground are as unobtrusive to Travis planes as lakes and ponds, he wrote.

“While it’s clear that Travis Air Force Base has valid concerns over the expansion of nearby wind turbines and wind farms, all renewable energy is not created equal,” Tamminen wrote.

The county has been at the forefront of the green energy revolution, county Resource Management Director Bill Emlen said. It has allowed some 700 turbines in the Montezuma Hills, he said. He doesn’t see that commitment as changing, despite the moratorium.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Russell V KinzDecember 04, 2013 - 11:06 am

    It's not often that I goagainst private enterprises, but this tower stuff threatningTravis AB is different. When something has the potiential of harming military readiness for the sake of making a ton of money for themselves, different story. Green stuff is always a good excuzetorunrough shood over any thing

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Highway 12 project nears completion

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

‘Snail mail’ still kinda cool

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Senior center schedules discussion on senior travel

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Local government schedule meetings

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
Car club raises funds, supplies for SPCA

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Democrats plan candidates meet, greet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Stand Up 2 Cancer Viewing party set in Vacaville

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Goodwill opens Outlet Store in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Premier post details of new lease

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
Il Fiorello to host jazz event

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
New doctors join NorthBay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

Small earthquakes shake Solano

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
.

Opinion

Compromise on Cordelia Road rail crossing costs

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
Justice for all

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

Good job, Susan Winlow

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Editorial Cartoon: Sept. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Whopper of a tax dodge for Burger King

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 26 Comments

 
Is social media enlarging or stifling democracy?

By Cynthia M. Allen | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Is my husband right when he says men aren’t made for monogamy?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 2, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
5 takeaways from a punch-less summer box office

By Jake Coyle | From Page: A11

Joan Rivers’ daughter: I’m keeping fingers crossed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Wozniacki outlasts Sharapova, in US Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Falcons looking to be defensive

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Source: 49ers OL Boone agrees to new 2-yr deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49er Ray McDonald accused of domestic violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Kahne holds off Kenseth to win Atlanta shootout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

FC Kansas City wins NWSL title over Seattle, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders claim DE Mayowa off waivers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jensen waived after Jaguars awarded TE Shuler

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Otto wins Italian Open; Gallacher comes up short

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Weather for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Henley takes a 1-shot lead at Deutsche Bank

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dunn dealt to A’s, could be his last shot playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fred Couples wins Champions Tour event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

A’s frustrated after 8-1 loss caps sweep by Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Ernst wins LPGA’s Portland Classic in playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants power past Brewers 15-5 for 3-game sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Down at half, US beats Turkey in basketball worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Source: Chiefs’ Smith agrees to 4-yr extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tony Stewart’s return to race track ends early

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sam clears waivers, meets with Fisher

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Laurie Danielson Bailey

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Hazel Gertrude Wamsley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jerry Lee Trammell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
.

Comics

Get Fuzzy Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
Sally Forth Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7