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In the Wind



I'm excited about the Humboldt Wind Project because I'm very concerned about climate change ("The Cost of Wind," June 6). Last year, scientists were tasked by the International Panel on Climate Change to figure out what must be done to prevent global average temperature rise from exceeding 1.5 degrees C. The answer: Reduce Co2 emissions to zero by 2040. Zero. That means zero combustion of natural gas for electricity generation or heat. Zero propane, gasoline, diesel and coal. This will be hard. Changing over our homes, businesses and transportation systems will cost money and take time.

An increase of 1.5 C is a tipping point; above that irreversible climate changes are projected. Compared to 1900, we are at about 1-degree C change now. The ocean has noticeably warmed, half the coral reef has died, ice caps are melting faster than expected and severe weather, drought and fires are problems. Species are going extinct and food supplies are diminishing. We do have a climate emergency but we are very slow to act.

The Humboldt Wind Project will power about 30,000 homes with zero-emission electricity. Because Humboldt presently imports about half its power from the main electricity grid in the Central Valley via the Bridgeville substation, and because that is the connection point for the Humboldt Wind Project, the wind-generated electricity will displace grid power from outside the county. That's like buying every residence in Humboldt County a 50 percent reduction in residential electricity carbon footprint. It has the same effect as installing solar on your house, namely no more fossil fuel generated electricity but at no cost to you.

We can manage and live with the local environmental impacts; they are far less detrimental than long-term climate change effects of using hydrocarbon fuels.

William R. Warf, Ferndale


To all of you who enjoy Humboldt Bay and especially to all of my wonderful neighbors in Fields Landing, this wind project proposal envisions turbine components being barged through Humboldt Bay to Fields Landing where they will be transferred to large trucks.

Is this a joke? Are we to sacrifice the beauty of our bay for some theoretical improvement to our energy situation? Has anyone noticed that the roads in Fields Landing get repaired pothole after pothole from the very limited amount of traffic we have here?

Does anyone recall that Fields Landing was just recently designated to be in a tsunami zone?

Thank you to the NCJ for this article. Please continue to keep us informed. We can't let this happen.

Carol H. Michael, Fields Landing


Your article "The Cost of Wind" did not examine the real costs since it was dictated by Terra-Gen hirelings almost totally. DeLapp spoon-fed the info as per her job as a project consultant and not a word was said about the carbon costs of the project, which far exceed the electricity ultimately produced.

The construction will use 15,000 gallons of water per day, more than 11,000 yards of concrete from plants fueled by generators and 3 million cubic feet of soil displaced that hold more carbon than trees. The turbines use 24,000 gallons of oil per year. There will be 900 acres of clear cut logging that will erode into Eel River tributaries and Jordan Creek watershed. The turbines will be sunk into 10-foot-deep cement and will never be able to be removed. The life of this project is limited and California is strewn with dead wind farms. DeLapp seems to have forgotten to mention the real costs and the author seems to have failed to ask.

There was no mention of the Wiyot Tribe and the Rancherias asking that the land not be disturbed since it is a place of prayer and the only spot left where they can see the whole of their ancestral lands. Since many of us are living on Wiyot land, why is there not even mention of their request?

Your article was shamefully inadequate and I hope that you'll remedy that with new, thorough coverage. This is a critically important issue and people need to be informed. This will be in the laps of the Planning Commission in July and it matters that people are there to speak out. Our supervisors need to wake up and take action on catastrophic climate change. We need to think solar, starting with government buildings. Ultimately, solar saves money and creates jobs.

Sylvia De Rooy, Indianola


Thank you for the great article "The Cost of Wind." I had not realized Humboldt currently imports most of our electricity! Sixty-five percent via transmission lines (losing power as it travels) and most of the rest via the natural gas pipeline feeding Humboldt Bay Power Plant (leaks have 32 times the greenhouse effect of CO2).

I have heard important misinformation about the Humboldt Wind Energy project that I hope to correct: 

Electricity from the wind generators will be used locally. It is impossible for electrons to go anywhere other than the nearest load. The amount of low-carbon energy produced will be significant. This one project could supply 36 percent of Humboldt's entire electricity consumption. That is a big impact! 

This wind project will help reduce global warming. All new infrastructure has large carbon contributions, however, it is proven that increasing low-carbon energy on the electrical grid must be done to prevent the worst effects of global warming. Please check out the 2017 book Drawdown edited by Paul Hawkin. 

This wind project is low-carbon. There are multitudinous factors in calculating carbon footprint. However, life-cycle emissions from wind are calculated at 11grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour produced (CO2/kWh), compared to natural gas at 465 grams of CO2/kWh. If this unique project were double the typical carbon footprint, that is still 443 grams less CO2/kWh than natural gas.

I fully support the RCEA goal of 100 percent local and renewable energy for Humboldt County by 2025. This is possible. I didn't know before but there is a fully viable plan to meet this goal! I encourage everyone with opinions about the wind project to read the RePower Humboldt Strategic Plan prepared by HSU's Schatz Energy Lab. Thank you to everyone working to protect our environment. 

Amber Woodworth, Manila


In response to the "Cost of Wind," on the quality of the biodiversity and landscape on Bear River and Monument ridges, from last week's Journal, "DeLappp points out that the land had been used by Pacific Lumber Co. and by cattle ranchers and is consequently far from pristine." This shows a complete lack of understanding regarding the biodiversity within this project area, which includes one of the last large, intact, and native coastal prairie complexes in northwestern California, comparable to Bald Hills in Redwood National Park, which hosts a diverse habitat mosaic of acres of rare and sensitive plant communities (more than 400 acres of sensitive plant communities to be impacted), including California oatgrass prairie (Danthonia californica), blue wildrye meadows (Elymus glaucus), Siskiyou checkerbloom patches (Sidalcea malviflora ssp. patula), coastal bramble and newly described native plant communities, like redwood manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana) stands, which could have direct links to historic indigenous land management.

Tribal peoples used fire to maintain prairies like those on Bear River Ridge, which then became excellent habitat for megafauna grazers. These areas were the first to be grabbed up by early settlers due to the abundance of grasslands already made available by local tribes and our modern cows mimicked our native elk, especially if grazed wisely and moderately. Just because a landscape has been ranched doesn't mean it isn't pristine. That's hogwash. Some of our nicest lands, with the most herbaceous diversity, are areas that have had regular moderate rotational grazing, which can help maintain native grasses, like Danthonia and Deschampsia.

This project landscape contains one of our more pristine coastal prairies left in all of northwestern California and the botanical report, found within the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the project, speaks for itself. Comments are due this Friday!

Adam Canter, Fortuna


I'm writing in response to an article in the May 30 edition entitled, "The Cost of Wind." The article goes into a detailed account of Terra-Gen's presentation but omits information readily apparent to anyone who has studied the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

Proponents of the wind project tout the reduction of carbon dioxide, diversification of the state's "energy portfolio," and a decrease in the dependence on foreign energy supplies. Reading about the industry online exposes these marketing strategies of the wind energy industry as nothing but a lot of hot air (pardon the pun).

This proposed mega-project, which includes wind turbines as tall as Seattle's Space Needle, requires the clear cutting of 895 acres of trees. A Google search tells me that 895 acres of trees provide enough oxygen for nearly 9,000 people to breathe annually. While we have long known that forest ecosystems serve as important carbon sinks, a recent study by University of California at Davis found that grasslands may be equally important carbon sinks for the 21st century.

A related primary concern is potential future impacts to the California condor re-introduction by the Yurok Tribe. The general consensus is that Bear River Ridge and the Lost Coast will be critical habitat for the giant birds. The condor is just one of the protected or listed species native to the North Coast that will suffer irreversible decline because of the windmills. (Terra-Gen calls these "unmitigatable impacts.")

Savvy birdwatchers know that it is unlawful pursuant to California Endangered Species Act code section 2081 to "take" state-listed species without a take permit. It is furthermore unlawful to "take" fully protected species pursuant to code section 3511, and no take permit for such species shall be issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Terra-Gen evidently thinks they are above state law!

Rick Pelren, Fortuna

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