Friday, September 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Solano County wind farm gets nation’s first eagle permit

By
From page A1 | June 27, 2014 |

shiloh turbines, 9/24/12

Wind turbines from the Shiloh wind farm in the Montezuma Hills. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic file 2012)

MONTEZUMA HILLS — An electricity-generating wind farm in the Montezuma Hills of eastern Solano County will become the first wind farm in the nation to receive a federal permit allowing for the deaths of some golden eagles.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday announced it will issue the permit. Golden eagles are protected by the Endangered Species Act and wind energy companies can face criminal charges for killing them.

Shiloh IV is owned by EDF Renewable Energy and is one of several wind farms in the Montezuma Hills. Its 50 white turbines are about 400 feet tall from the ground to the top of an upturned blade. Eagles can be killed by spinning blades and by electrocution.

The permit will allow up to five golden eagle deaths over five years at the 3,500-acre wind farm without federal penalties. EDF Renewable Energy will take such steps as retrofitting 133 power poles to avoid electrocuting eagles. It must monitor all turbines monthly for eagle deaths.

“We can’t solve the problem of eagle mortality at wind farms overnight, but this common-sense solution merits the support of all who advocate for the long-term conservation of eagles,” Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said in a press release.

Shiloh IV is part of Solano County’s Montezuma Hills Wind Resource Area. The area contains hundreds of turbines owned by various companies, as well as by the Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District.

The Napa-Solano Audubon Society has commended Shiloh IV for seeking the golden eagle permit. But group member Robin Leong also expressed concerns in a Nov. 29, 2013, letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, noting that this first golden eagle permit would set a precedent.

Among other things, Leong criticized what he called a flawed, “piecemeal” approach to Solano County’s Montezuma Hills Wind Resource Area. He asked Fish and Wildlife Service to expand its analysis and permit to the entire wind area, if not all wind turbine areas in the region.

Until the agency addresses all wind resource eagle deaths, it cannot achieve its obligations under the Eagle Protection Act to conserve eagle populations, he wrote.

The Fish and Wildlife Service responded in April that the Napa-Solano Audubon Society request goes beyond the scope of the analysis done for the Shiloh IV permit. But, the agency said, it will continue to encourage other wind project owners in the Montezuma Hills to apply for golden eagle permits.

Leong also noted that EDF Renewable Energy will work with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to retrofit 133 power poles, but that these poles are 140 miles away from Shiloh IV. Napa-Solano Audubon Society believes the pole retrofits should take place in Solano County, unless no PG&E poles in the county need retrofitting, he wrote.

The Fish and Wildlife Service responded that doing the retrofits in another area will still help the local eagle population. The agency is focused on the entire area eagle population and the identified site has repeated eagle fatalities, the agency said in its written response.

“Poles could be retrofit in Solano County; however, there are far fewer nests in that area, and the benefits to eagles are expected to be lower,” the response said. “We will continue to work with the owners of the Solano County utility poles, encouraging them to retrofit those poles.”

Leong couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Michael Hutchins of the American Bird Conservancy told The Associated Press that the five-year permit for Shiloh IV is reasonable. But, he said, the rapid expansion of wind energy has gotten ahead of science and regulations to protect birds and raptors.

“Is it really green energy if it’s going to kill hundreds of thousands of birds or bats each year?” he said. “The whole system needs a much harder look.”

The federal government has offered the five-year permits since 2009 to wind companies. Marie Strassburger, a migratory bird specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said getting one is a lengthy process.

EDF Renewable Energy kicked off its $300 million Shiloh IV project with a ceremony in September 2012. The project involved replacing 235 smaller, lattice wind turbines installed in 1989 with 50 bigger, modern turbines. Despite having far fewer turbines, Shiloh IV can generate 10 times the electricity of the old version, enough to power 40,000 average homes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 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 | 2 comments

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

  • JimboJune 27, 2014 - 8:40 am

    There are so many other options than this 1960's outdated turbine technology to generate electricity with wind. It is just cheap laziness that these wind farms are not using newer technology that is safer to birds. The internet is full of different options from different companies, several do not use turbines at all.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Jim WiegandJune 27, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Every bit of the research used in this permitting process was rigged to hide important facts pertaining to our declining golden eagle populations. Thanks to Voluntary USFWS regulations for the wind industry and bogus wind industry studies, thousands of eagles killed by wind turbines have gone unreported. This new Eagle killing permit "will require" the facility to take steps to prevent eagle injuries and deaths from electrocution by retrofitting 133 power poles. This is something already routinely done and has been enforced by the USFWS for years. Now our eroding government is selling this to the public as MITIGATION in order to offset the wind industry's ongoing slaughter to our eagles. It is a discrace. Every USFWS employee should take issue with this or quit their lousy soul-selling jobs. This project will also very likely be killing bald eagles but they completely dodged this impact to avoid the required permits and bad publicity. USFWS Utility retrofitting/enforcement examples: In 2009 a California utility investigated by the USFWS for electrocuting white pelicans on its transmission lines spent $10,303 in retrofits to reduce threats to birds. In 2008 USFWS investigations of companies responsible for the electrocution of eagles secured needed powerline retrofits and/or the development of Avian Protection Plans in Wyoming, Utah, and Nebraska. 2007-2009 PacifiCorp – one of the largest electric utilities in the West – pleaded guilty today in Federal court in Casper, Wyoming, to unlawfully killing golden eagles and other migratory birds in the State. The company, which does business in Wyoming as Rocky Mountain Power, was ordered to pay over $10.5 million for killing eagles and other protected birds. The plea agreement responded to an information charging PacifiCorp with 34 counts of unlawfully taking golden eagles, hawks, and ravens in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. PacifiCorp has killed 232 eagles in Wyoming from January 2007 to the present. The company, which pleaded guilty to all 34 counts, has been sentenced to pay a $510,000 criminal fine and an additional $900,000 in restitution and will spend the next five years on probation. During this period, PacifiCorps has been ordered to spend $9.1 million to repair or replace its equipment to protect migratory birds from electrocution in Wyoming.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Shelter uses technology to reunite pets, owners

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Police make child molestation arrest

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Dignitaries celebrate opening of $30M courthouse

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Gender identity measure splits Garamendi, Logue

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield police arrest 2 in robberies investigation

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Stolen vehicle investigation leads to 3 arrests

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Police seek help to find missing Fairfield man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Fairfield eyes sale of excess government land

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Men, again, are seen as missing in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Weather for Sept. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Sept. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Scots reject independence in historic vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Man arrested in fast-growing California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Strong Senate vote for Obama on Syria rebel aid

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Law makes earthquake insurance more understandable

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

GOP pushes diverse candidates, but will it matter?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Passenger says JetBlue plane filled with smoke

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

PG&E emails may have violated rules, judge says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
500 Berkeley students missed sex abuse classes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boxer indicates big decision to come next year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Father arrested in fatal stabbing of 6-year-old

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Health exchange addresses dropped policies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
UC system plan calls for anti-sex abuse effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Democratic state lawmaker arraigned on DUI charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
CDC tells healthy adults not to forget flu vaccine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Border Patrol to test wearing cameras

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Kansas court: Remove Democrat from Senate ballot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Ukraine’s pleas for lethal aid from US go unmet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Sheriff: Fla. man kills 6 grandchildren, daughter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Couple in Craigslist slaying sentenced to life

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
In wake of beheadings, Busch Gardens removes props

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Trooper ambush suspect added to most wanted list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Series of attacks kills at least 36 in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Sierra Leone to shut down for 3 days to slow Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
British hostage appears in new video

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Militant gains illustrate plight of Syrian Kurds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

My support for anyone but Moy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
Did the ‘War on Poverty’ fail?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
3 obscure bills show how big policy gets buried

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Mother-in-law bothers me at work for kid’s minor infractions

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Adam Driver shifts into hyper drive

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2

 
Review: ‘Leave You’ has A-list cast, B-grade result

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
‘The Voice’ winner goes to Broadway’s ‘Pippin’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

TV Guide Network renaming itself POP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Peter Fonda’s ‘Easy Rider’ bike going to auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Darrell Hammond takes over for Don Pardo on ‘SNL’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
The Roosevelt trail, from Maine to North Dakota

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

 
Vanden volleyball team remains undefeated in SCAC play

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

 
49ers’ Derek Carrier ready to step in at tight end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Raiders seek ways to get Reece more involved

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Athletics out of top wild-card spot as Texas sweeps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Nashville new home for Athletics’ Triple-A team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
MLS says Chivas USA might not play in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Tiger Woods says he might coach himself

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Police: Cardinals RB Dwyer head-butted wife

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Falcons romp to 56-14 win over hapless Buccaneers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

2-time Grand Slam winner Li Na retires from tour

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stacy Lewis, Mi Jung Hur share LPGA lead in Alabama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

WR Simpson, in more trouble, released by Vikings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Royal & Ancient votes to admit female members

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Prep football capsules: Week 3

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

Appeals court reconsidering Barry Bonds conviction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Nissan’s small car excels at affordability

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Self-driving cars now need a permit in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Applications for US jobless benefits fall sharply

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Apple locks itself out of devices with passwords

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Alibaba’s plan: Today, China. Tomorrow, the world.

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Chevron meets new, voluntary shale drilling rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Ellison gives up Oracle CEO role, becomes chairman

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
California bill increases Hollywood tax credits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Fed keeps rates low, but brace for the inevitable

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Alibaba prices IPO at $68 per share

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

Home Depot says malware affected 56M payment cards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Mae Frances Jones

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9