August 06, 2013

Montezuma Hills adventure, part 2 of 3

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photo by Donald Kinney

The old...

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photo by Donald Kinney

The new...

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photo by Donald Kinney

Yes... Electricity to power all those warm electronic gismos I love so much.
I am truly indebted to you, Mr. P.G.&E...

Well, here's the story;
It is simple math--and the big investment corporations like New York Life Insurance are sinking huge sums into 4 million dollar wind turbines. French company EDF Engergies Nouvelles also has a big piece of the pie.
Iberdrola Renewables holds claim to "largest Montezuma Hills player".

Clean and renewable energy generation is big business but also helping to save the planet, at least a few megawatts at a time. Currently, no coal fired generating plants are being built in the U.S., so either the price is going to go way up or we're going to have to plug into sources like wind and solar.

Sorry I don't have a total count of all windmills, but I'd estimate 500 or more. There has been an explosion of windmills since I first started coming to these peaceful rolling hills over 40 years ago. At first there were only twenty or thirty, of a much smaller type. They are still generating electricity today, feeding into the grid. All these companies have contracts to sell their generated power to P.G.&E. But of course, initial investment is enormous.

The land for the turbines is leased from two dozen (+/-) local landowners, who continue to use it for sheep grazing and growing wheat. Wheat is the major crop here. Cows are allowed to roam in the stubble after the fields are cut. Ranchers and farmers receive sizable checks for the use of their land. Up close, the wind turbines do produce a bit of noise, but the cattle and sheep don't seem to mind. Bird-strikes is a common windmill problem.

The Montezuma Hills is probably one of the best places to "plant" a farm of windmills. Moderate winds blow across these low hills year-around.
Location: base of Sacramento Delta, between Rio Vista and Fairfield.
CLICK for a great webpage showing how these massive 250' towers, with three long blades and a giant generator, are assembled and erected.
--more tomorrow...

CLICK for 40 photos on what I call my "big site";
CLICK for "Photographing Marin County"; my Marin County exhibit.

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