Friday, February 22, 2008

Planners Delay Decision, Get Wind of New Travis Response

Planners Delay Decision, Get Wind of New Travis Response
By Danny Bernardini/Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/22/2008

Standing 350 feet above the Montezuma Hills, some 90 state-of-the-art wind turbines produce power for FPL Energy at the High Winds Energy Center west of Rio Vista. (Reporter file/Rick Roach)

In what is becoming a familiar action, the Solano County Planning Commission delayed a decision again Thursday night on whether 88 additional wind turbines can be installed in the Montezuma Hills.

The commission is waiting for the latest response to the situation by Travis Air Force Base.

The issue has been before the planning commission since early last year and the latest delay is until at least March 20, but could be even longer depending on how quickly environmental documents can be finalized.

The proposal for turbines, titled the Shiloh II Wind Project, by enXco is to build 88 of them on land located southeast of Travis. The problem is that Travis officials fear that the new turbines would interfere with a new radar system that will be operational by October.

The newest addition to the proposal is that enXco now is offering up to $1 million to Travis for any potential problems those turbines may cause.

Col. G.I. Tuck, acting wing commander at Travis, said the base stands by its original statement of having the project delayed until the new radar system is in place. He also added that the base likely would be issuing a formal response to the $1 million offer shortly.

There are currently more than 700 wind turbines in the Montezuma Hills, but the newest batch potentially would cause a problem as the blades of the turbines may lead to smaller planes appearing to drop off the radar screens while images of others may appear when they aren't actually there, according to Travis officials.

Thursday night's meeting featured comments from both Travis and lawyers for enXco. Anne Mudge, enXco's lawyer, said she is confident the offer will be accepted and a deal will soon be in place to build the turbines. She also apologized for the issue again being delayed.

Danny Bernardini can be reached at

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