East Bay Community Energy formally opened a new 57.5 MW wind farm in the Altamont Pass in Livermore under hot sunny, nearly breezeless skies the morning of Sept. 24. The project will be sending most of the power into the grid from about 4 PM to 10 PM.
“It underscores what we can accomplish when community organizations have a voice in the development process of our clean energy choices,” Corina Lopez, vice chair of the EBCE board, said during the Friday ribbon-cutting ceremony. She added the wind farm has created jobs and will lower utility bills.
“This is the work we need to be doing,” added Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda).
EBCE signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the financier and developer of the wind energy project, New York-based Greenbacker Capital. Greenbacker manages $1.5 billion in assets and 2 GW of carbon reduction energy projects in 32 states.
The developer installed 23 efficient 2.5 MW turbines.
Altamont Pass is a zone of strong wind and home to the first wind turbines in California, starting back in the 1980s. At that time, they were largely used as tax shelters. The area is a bird migratory path, known as the Pacific Flyway, and roughly 1,000 raptors, including golden eagles were killed. Nearly every turbine design can be seen at the pass.
The new project replaces an earlier generation of machines, exceeding them in production power. The turbine replacements also were designed to minimize impacts to wildlife, particularly birds during migratory season, EBCE spokesperson Melissa Brandt said.
The construction price of the new wind farm is confidential. It is expected to produce $20 million in tax revenue to Alameda County over its life.
Four and a half years ago, the project “was just a sparkle in our eyes,” said EBCE Chief Executive Officer Nick Chaset.
The wind project is another step to help the community aggregator meet its 100% clean energy target set for 2030, following a Dec. 16 board vote. It serves 1.7 million residential and commercial customers in Alameda County and 14 cities.
EBCE demand is 7,000 gigawatt hours, and between 40%-45% of its portfolio currently is provided by renewable energy, Howard Chang, the aggregator’s chief operating officer, told Current.
The wind “repower” project is named after Scott Haggerty who was the mover and shaker behind EBCE, and its first chief. He is now president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, having been on the board since 1996.
Photo is courtesy of EBCE