Laurel Mountain Wind
L.H. Renewables, LLC, A Redlands-based corporate entity registered to a post office box, has submitted a plan of development for the Laurel Mountain wind project, which would involve installing as many as 130 wind turbines on nearly 40 square miles of intact desert west of Ridgecrest. The company has been testing wind resources in the area for years, and as of early November the BLM initiated environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act.
North Peak Wind
E On Climate Renewables remains interested in developing the North Peak Wind project, overlapping with the Juniper Flats recreation area prized by residents of the Victor Valley. I previously wrote about this project in March; since then, the company in December submitted a plan of development and the fees necessary to begin the environmental review process. The company also reduced the size of the proposed project from over 23 square miles to 16 square miles.
|[Click on image to expand] The red area depicts the approximate footprint of the North Peak Wind energy project, and does not include recent modifications reportedly made to the footprint that reduce the project area from 23 to 16 square miles.|
Silurian Valley Wind
BLM in early December approved the plan of development for Iberdrola's Silurian Valley wind project, which would industrialize over 10 square miles of intact desert habitat between Baker and Shoshone on the scenic route 127, suggesting the scoping period may begin soon. The company also plans to build a large solar facility south of the wind project, although the company has not submitted any additional information on the project in recent months, according to BLM records.
|[Click on image to expand] The Google Earth image above shows Phoenix Wind and Aurora Solar LLC plans for a wind and solar facility in the pristine Silurian Valley, north of Baker, and south of Death Valley National Park along the scenic route 127.|
Table Mountain Wind
The Table Mountain wind project is back, this time proposed by Acciona Energy. The right-of-way, located southwest of Las Vegas, and in the southeastern corner of the Sandy Valley, has changed hands at least twice since 2009 as companies evaluated wind resources in the area. According to BLM records, Acciona filed a plan of development for the nearly 11 square mile project in November proposing up to 50 wind turbines in the area.
|[Click on image to expand] Note that the red area is just an approximate outline of the proposed right-of-way for the Table Mountain wind project proposed by Acciona Energy.|
Other wind projects in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts are pending construction or operational. Some of the most ecologically destructive are sited in the western Mojave desert, and have killed several golden eagles, including LADWP's Pine Tree project, and Next Era's North Sky River Wind. These projects join dozens of square miles of wind turbines that are part of the Alta Wind Energy Center. Conservationists are also concerned the wind development spread across the western Mojave Desert and Tehachapi Mountains will impede the recovery of the California condor to its former range.
Elsewhere, the Searchlight Wind project in southern Nevada was approved by BLM, although Duke Energy has not yet started construction. The area hosts a healthy population of desert tortoises that will be threatened by the dozens of miles of new dirt roads that will be carved into the intact desert for the project. Further south, the Ocotillo Express wind project has completed construction, although Federal Energy Regulatory Committee reports indicate that it has produced very little of its expected energy, probably due to low wind resources in the area.
In Arizona, BP received approval from the BLM for the Mohave County Wind facility on over 54 square miles of mostly intact desert.