May 26, 2009

Montezuma Hills windmills

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

If you thought you knew California pretty well, but have never heard of Montezuma Hills, don't worry -- it's a secret area -- only the kind of place that sheep-herders, wheat-growers, duck-hunters, and the occasional photographer knows about.

Generally speaking, Montezuma Hills is in the lower Sacramento Delta area.   It's the rolling hills on the west side of Highway12, between Fairfield and Rio Vista.   The towns are microscopic -- with names like Collinsville and Bird's Landing.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Ranchers have always taken advantage of the area's persistent winds for pumping water, but about thirty years ago the first wind-turbines started popping up.   Ranchers soon found they could make a tidy sum selling excess electricity to the power grid.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The current generation of wind-turbines is massive and tall.   The Solano County Municipal Utility District has been operating their own set of windmills since 1994, generating 39 megawatts of power.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

When the price of oil and natural gas rise, wind-power stocks surge -- but of course, vice-versa is true too.   Many of the wind-power companies now own thier own land, but ranchers who rent space and access to the wind-power companies are making out like bandits...

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Deborah Godin said...

Such eloquent photos, they speak volumes about the changes in technology!

AphotoAday said...

THANKS DEBORAH -- When I was much younger I used to photograph a lot in the Montezuma Hills -- black and white 4x5 Polaroids, mostly... At that time the windmill idea was just getting started -- it's fun to see how it has developed...

Seems like, with all of the non-poluting solar and wind out there we should be able to conquer our energy needs... I really don't see what the problem is...

photowannabe said...

Guilty...never heard of Montezuma Hills. Great shots of the old and the new.

FogBay said...

What a great location, well done. You should sponsor photo safaris to hidden California sites like Montezuma Hills.

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