Wind turbines in Lompoc hills to start generating electricity this month
The Lompoc hills are about to start providing wind-generated electricity from newly built turbines. The County of Santa Barbara has given the final go-ahead to turn them on.
Construction on the Strauss Wind Energy Project is complete and now it has permission to operate the 27 turbines. Each turbine is more than 400 feet tall and the project is expected to generate enough electricity to power about 36,000 homes.
The development is on private land and connected to the PG&E grid.
County of Santa Barbara supervising planner Errin Briggs says this project advances renewable energy goals.
“The Board of Supervisors has a directive that the county is going to pursue renewable energy whether that be through our own projects on county-owned land or by helping facilitate private projects on private property,” he said.
Briggs said, over several years, the plan went through intensive review for cultural and environmental impacts. The last step was confirmation from the US Fish & Wildlife Service that it was okay to flip the switch on.
“The site has numerous sensitive species, several listed species and, of course, the Golden eagle,” he said.
Golden eagles are a protected species, and Briggs said the birds have been seen one mile from the project site, so additional research was needed.
Fish & Wildlife recently confirmed that they intend to permit the project, so Briggs said the company can move forward. But they must closely monitor eagle activity and report any bird deaths or habitat disturbances.
Strauss Wind LLC is owned by renewable energy company BayWa. BayWa Wind CEO Gordon MacDougall said the company has worked closely with the County to be in full compliance.
“They’ve given us very, very robust conditions, but they have been very supportive in the outcome,” MacDougall said.
He said the project will be fully operational by mid-November.
You can find more information on the County of Santa Barbara website.