Hatchet Ridge Wind Project Gets Boost From PG&E

In a bit of belated news, our local wind project has entered into a long term contract with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) for electricity generated from it’s wind turbines.

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced today it has entered into a long-term agreement with Hatchet Ridge Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Babcock & Brown, to purchase up to 103 megawatts (MW) of renewable wind energy. The project will generate up to 303 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy annually. This would be equivalent to the amount of energy needed to serve nearly 44,000 residential homes on an annual basis.

“This wind energy project will provide our northern and central California customers with clean, emission-free power,” said Fong Wan, senior vice president of energy procurement for PG&E. “Our agreement with Hatchet Ridge Wind is another important step to increasing our diverse renewable energy portfolio.”

The Hatchet Ridge Wind project will be located on a portion of Hatchet Mountain in Burney, Calif. Deliveries are expected to begin by December 31, 2009.

Computer Generated Image

Computer Generated Image. Click to Enlarge

“We look forward to working together with PG&E to create a new, homegrown and sustainable source of carbon-free energy in Northern California,” said Hunter Armistead, head of Babcock & Brown’s North American Renewable Energy Group.

Since 2002, PG&E has entered into contracts for more than 24 percent of its future deliveries from renewable sources. On average, more than 50 percent of the energy PG&E delivers to its customers comes from generating sources that emit no carbon dioxide, making the company’s energy among the cleanest in the nation.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCGNews), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in northern and central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com.


This is the right way to utilize wind power. Private funding and selling the power into the grid. Plus the county receives the tax dollars, without anyone being forced to create “Green Energy”.

Background on the Hatchet Ridge Project

Supervisors Approve Hatchet Ridge Project 5-0


Hatchet Ridge Wind Project Approved

Enhanced Photo Showing Turbines on Hachet Ridge

Enhanced Photo Showing Turbines on Hatchet Ridge (click to enlarge)

After you read this post, please see the update.

!UPDATE! 12-1-08 PG&E Buys Into Hatchet Ridge Project

First the good news.

BURNEY – Shasta County officials Thursday night unanimously approved plans for a 6 1/2-mile-long string of wind turbines along a ridge overlooking Burney.

County planning commissioners voted in favor of the 100-megawatt project atop Hatchet Ridge after listening to three hours of testimony during a public hearing that drew about 200 people to the Mt. Burney Theatre. Commissioners approved the electricity-generating project on a 5-0 vote.

“Overall we believe it is a good project,” said David Rutledge, the commission’s chairman.

The project’s developers were happy with the vote and will move forward in building the 43 turbines, said George Hardie, senior developer for Babcock and Brown, the project’s lead financier.

“We hope to start next spring,” Hardie said.

And of course the NIMBY’s must have their say.

But the project likely isn’t finished being reviewed by county officials just yet.

Opponents of the project, whose combined turbines and towers would reach 418 feet skyward, said just after the vote that they will appeal the decision to the Shasta County Board of Supervisors.

Ken Archuleta, a Burney man and project critic, said the commissioners’ quick vote after a short amount of discussion once the public microphone was turned off Thursday shows commissioners didn’t completely weigh the arguments against the project.

“They didn’t listen to a thing they heard,” Archuleta said.

The deadline for an appeal is Tuesday.

During his time before the commission, Archuleta questioned why the developers didn’t look at nearby ridges that aren’t visible from downtown Burney.

Other critics said the turbines would destroy land sacred to American Indians, wound and kill birds and simply be an industrial eyesore complete with red, blinking lights.

Among the critics of the project Thursday night were several members of the Pit River Tribe, who said the turbines would be put on ground they consider a “church.”

The tribe will look for a way to stop the project, possibly by filing suit in federal court, said Jessica Jim, the tribe’s former chairwoman.

“We already have an attorney,” she said.

Here’s the rebuttal.

The project’s developers want to build on Hatchet Ridge because it has the most wind energy in the area, Hardie said. They studied shifting the location to a spot on Hatchet Ridge not visible from town, but the amount of energy that the turbines would produce dropped 30 percent to 40 percent, he said.

“We cannot move the project down the hill,” he said.

Supporters of the project said the project would help the country address its need for renewable power, provide jobs in Burney and draw interested onlookers to the Intermountain area.

“I find the units fascinating to watch,” said Terry Hufft, who lives between Montgomery Creek and Burney with a view of Hatchet Ridge.

The turbines would be built on land owned by a pair of timber companies, Sierra Pacific Industries and Fruit Growers Supply Co., and would be most visible from Main Street, or Highway 299, through downtown Burney.

“I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives,” Planning Commissioner Shirley Easley said after her vote.

So here’s my take: The project is on private land, being built by private investors with their own money. It will bring jobs and money to town. That alone is enough to approve the project. Also, it is supplying extra electricity using already existing powerlines, not being used as a primary source of power. Burney needs the revenue and jobs. It’s a good deal. Oh, and did I mention, It’s on Private Land being built by Private Investors? No tax payer dollars will be harmed by this project. On the contrary, it will bring in much needed tax dollars.

And just in case you wanted to know, yes, it is virtually in my backyard. Hatchet Ridge was burned bare during the Fountain Fire in ’92. It aint much to look at anyway, the turbines won’t harm the view very much. (see photo at top)

Get the facts. Hatchet Ridge Wind

Li’l Smokey: It’s Been Awhile

New Digs

New Digs

Click Picture To Enlarge

Lil’ Smokey isn’t so little anymore.

The small cub-turned-celebrity is now up to 40 pounds, said one of those helping him recover.

“He’s doing great,” said Cheryl Millham, executive director of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, the South Lake Tahoe rehabilitation center where he has been recouping from burns he suffered in a north state fire in July. Munching through a menu that includes peaches, grapes and fish, the growing bear recently was moved to larger digs by shelter workers.

For the first five weeks at the shelter Lil’ Smokey had called a 5- by-8-foot cage home, according to his blog.

Yes, Lil’ Smokey has a blog. It’s at www.ltwc.typepad.com/.

He’s now in a 10- by 14-foot enclosure that has an 8-foot-tall ceiling like his old cage, but chain-link fencing as part of its walls so he experiences the outside weather. If that weather gets too cold Lil’ Smokey has a place to go — a new igloo-shaped plastic shelter. Soon after the shelter was moved into his pen Lil’ Smokey staked his claim.

“He already dragged all of his favorite blankets into his igloo,” a worker wrote in the cub’s Monday blog entry.

Lil’ Smokey fans hoping to see him in action in his cage via a Web cam will have to wait until next week, when Millham said the technology should be up and running. She said workers had planned to begin broadcasting early this month, but have run into “technical difficulties.”

The 8-month-old bear was rescued by Adam Deem of Anderson, a forester wit1h the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Deem had been scouting the Moon Fire’s northwest flank when he spotted the injured bear cub near Buckhorn Summit without his mother. She couldn’t be located, so Deem captured the then-tiny bear, wrapped him in his jacket and drove him to Anderson for emergency medical care.

He had suffered badly burned paws and an eye injury.

It was Deem who dubbed him Lil’ Smokey. The bear’s tale is similar to that of the original Smokey Bear, found by a firefighter badly burned and clinging to a tree in the aftermath of the Capitan Gap Fire in the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico in 1950, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Even though there are six other bear cubs recovering at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Center who share a cage, Millham said Lil’ Smokey is on his own because workers want to be able to corral him and check how his paws are healing.

So far they’re doing well, she said, with only one left in a protective booty as he moves around his cage.

The other cubs include one whose mother was killed by a car and another whose mother was killed by a bullet when she tried to raid a chicken coop. Millham said they’ll likely be released in February.

She said she is hopeful Lil’ Smokey will be released then too, but it all depends on his recovery.

“It’s still too soon,” she said.

Buckhorn Fire Chases Out Big Bar Residents

It aint over yet! The wildfires that started June 20th are still burning strong. None are controlled, and most are not even fully contained.

The small Trinity County community of Big Bar, 20 miles west of Weaverville, was under a mandatory evacuation order Saturday after the out-of-control Buckhorn Fire burned close to homes.

Highway 299 was shut down in the area about 6:45 a.m. Saturday because of the encroaching fire and a burnout operation, Iron Complex spokesman Don Ferguson of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest said Saturday.

Highway 299 is expected to remain closed until noon today. There will be one-way controlled traffic when it reopens, a California Highway Patrol dispatcher said.

Ferguson said the highway could very well end up being used as a fire break.

He said the blaze flared up significantly Friday night and early Saturday.

Residents were asked to evacuate to the Veterans Memorial Hall in Weaverville. A pilot car was going to escort them through the closed highway, although a majority of Big Bar residents were staying and watching the flames, Ferguson said.

“People were out there with their coffee cups this morning,” Ferguson said Saturday.

About four residents were at the shelter Friday night and about 10 were there Saturday, Ferguson said. Some of the residents who left their homes also could be staying with friends elsewhere, Ferguson said.

The mandatory evacuation order came after the fire moved to the top of the ridge north of Big Bar on Friday night and began backing down to the residences Saturday morning, an evacuation notice reads. The 26,532-acre fire was listed at 40 percent containment Saturday.

“Defensive firing” was being used to keep the homes safe, the notice reads.

“The firing’s going really well so far,” Ferguson said.

Fire crews have built chicken-wire barriers to keep fire debris from rolling into homes, Ferguson said. Firefighters last week set up water sprinklers and built a fire line for structure protection. One building also had been wrapped with fireresistant material, he said.

About 60 people live in the community near the Trinity River.

However, others in Trinity County will notice the Buckhorn Fire’s spread.

Power from west of Weaverville to Maple Creek was shut off because snags were burning under power lines, Ferguson said.

The evacuation comes less than a day after a fire spokesman on Friday declared that burnouts used to fight the companion Eagle Fire were a success, burning away dangerous brush and other “understory” vegetation. The Eagle Fire was at 31,797 acres with 83 percent containment Saturday.

“People on the south side of the (Trinity) River are feeling pretty happy with the results,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Richard Hadley said Friday. “We’re hoping we can relieve the apprehension of the folks on the north side over the next 48 hours.”

Since a lightning storm in late June ignited hundreds of wildfires in the area, residents have lived under a constant pall of smoke and the fear of evacuation.

Here’s the status of the north state’s fires as of Saturday:

Iron-Alps complexes

Location: Near Junction City.

Cause: Lightning, June 21.

Approximate acres burned: 102,936.

24-hour acreage change: 2,822.

Percent contained: 79.

Expected containment: Sept. 1.

Structures threatened: 477.

Yolla Bolly Complex

Location: 20 miles west of Paskenta.

Cause: Lightning, June 20.

Approximate acres burned: 89,389.

24-hour acreage change: 874.

Percent contained: 95.

Expected containment: Aug. 23.

Structures threatened: None.

Siskiyou Complex and Blue 2 Fire

Location: Southwest of Happy Camp.

Cause: Lightning, June 21.

Approximate acres burned: 74,410.

24-hour acreage change: 972.

Percent contained: 72.

Expected containment: Aug. 30.

Structures threatened: None.

Ukonom Complex

Location: Nearest fire 5 miles north of Somes Bar.

Cause: Lightning, June 21.

Approximate acres burned: 51,017.

24-hour acreage change: 296.

Percent contained: 89.

Expected containment: Sept. 15.

Structures threatened: None.

Bear Wallow Complex

Location: 20 miles west of Paskenta.

Cause: Lightning, June 21.

Approximate acres burned: 14,593.

24-hour acreage change: 2.

Percent contained: 49.

Expected containment: Sept. 15.

Structures threatened: None.

Panther Fire

Location: 15 miles south of Happy Camp.

Cause: Lightning, July 22.

Approximate acres burned: 23,214.

24-hour acreage change: 436.

Percent contained: 50.

Expected containment: Aug. 28.

Structures threatened: None.

Li’l Smokey: The Latest News

Here’s yesterday’s news on Li’l Smokey. I’m hoping he’ll be released in a wildlife preserve, but the rehabers insist it would be best to dump him in the middle of winter, in the woods, all alone, with feet that will never be normal. Makes me wonder sometimes about these “booklearned” experts.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — A badly blistered American black bear cub whose plight has touched the hearts of people around the world is continuing his recovery from second- and third-degree burns to his paws after his rescue last month from the hot embers of a Shasta-Trinity National Forest wildfire.

“His paws are definitely healing,” Cheryl Millham, executive director of the nonprofit Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, said Tuesday. “His toes are coming along beautifully.”

Affectionately called “Li’l Smokey,” the approximately 6-month-old bear cub, who also was badly dehydrated, weighed only about 8 pounds when a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighter plucked him from the scalding ashes of the Moon Fire.

He now weighs more than 16 pounds.

It’s hoped that Li’l Smokey’s severe burns will heal well enough that he can be released back into the Shasta-Trinity National Forest during next year’s hibernation season, Millham said.

If he’s still not well enough to be returned to the forest by then, the care center might try for early spring instead, she said.

But if it’s eventually determined that Li’l Smokey cannot be released into the wild because of his injuries, she said, he will be placed within a wildlife sanctuary. Sanctuaries in Texas and Maine already have offered him a home, she said.

“He will be released or put in a sanctuary,” Millham said. “He will never be sitting in a zoo.”

Cal Fire firefighter Adam Deem, 32, of Anderson came upon the injured black bear on July 17 while he was scouting the northwest flank of the Moon Fire in the Grass Valley Creek area near Buckhorn Summit. The cub’s mother could not be found.

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, which was established in the late 1970s and has released more than 12,200 birds and animals back to the wild, posts updates on Li’l Smokey and his condition on its Web site every other day.

That Web site, which also features a number of photographs of the bear cub, is at http://www.ltwc.org.

For further updates, Li’l Smokey has a new BLOG.

Northern California Fire Update: 8-3-08

While there has been a lot of progress lately, take a look at the containment pecentage. There’s still a lot of fire out of control even with the outstanding work being done.

Tanker Drop

Tanker Drop

Firefighters came close to full containment of the Eagle Fire in Trinity County.

The fire, part of the Iron Complex of fires, burned an additional 40 acres Saturday and had a fire line around 98 percent of the blaze as aerial firefighters continued to pound the fire with retardant, said Traci Weaver, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman.

On the Buckhorn Fire, also part of the Iron Complex, crews worked to keep the fire from burning beyond Limestone Ridge, Weaver said.

There will be a large turnover of resources today, as the Forest Service brings in replacement crews, Weaver said Saturday.

“We have to make sure we get the right type of crews for this area,” Weaver said. “The rest of the nation is heating up and there will be more competition for resources.”

Elsewhere Saturday, firefighters successfully conducted burnout operations to keep the fire from jumping the fire line on the Siskiyou Complex of fires, said Kerry Greene, a fire information officer with the Klamath National Forest. An Australian firefighting team arrived in Siskiyou County to help knock down the wildfires there, Greene said.

Here is a roundup of fires still burning in the north state:

Iron Complex:

The complex, which was 87 percent contained Saturday, had burned about 83,938 acres near Junction City. There are two other priority fires, not including the Eagle Fire, within the complex: The Buckhorn Fire was at 15,470 acres and 34 percent contained; and the Carey Fire was at 2,352 acres and 50 percent contained. A containment date for the Carey Fire is undetermined.

Lime Complex:

The Lime Complex near Hayfork had burned 62,676 acres and was 85 percent contained Saturday evening. The Miners Fire was listed at 24,368 acres and 85 percent contained, and the Lime Fire was at 23,176 acres and 70 percent contained. Hyampom Road remains closed until further notice from about three miles west of the junction with Highway 3 to about two miles west of the junction with Forest Road 10.

Yolla Bolly Complex:

A series of fires 20 miles west of Paskenta in Tehama County was 48 percent contained. The Grouse Fire was at 2,855 acres with 15 percent containment; the Yellow Fire was 28,904 acres and 40 percent contained; and the Vinegar Fire was at 41,561 acres and 45 percent contained.

Siskiyou Complex:

Fires southwest of Happy Camp had scorched 59,678 acres and were 60 percent contained by Saturday evening.

Bear Wallow Complex:

Two fires in the Marble Mountain Wilderness and Trinity Alps Wilderness had burned 11,475 acres and were 17 percent contained. A 16-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trial north of Etna Summit remained closed Saturday. The Trinity Alps Wilderness north of Caribou Lakes is also closed.

Blue 2 Complex:

These fires burning west of the Siskiyou Complex near Happy Camp had burned 6,636 acres and were 52 percent contained late Saturday.

Ukonom Complex:

Fires near Forks of Salmon had burned 42,195 acres and were 76 percent contained.

Panther Fire:

This fire southwest of Happy Camp had burned 7,115 acres and was zero percent contained.

Northern California Fire Update: 7-30-08

Smokey Sunset

Some new fires have popped up and some old ones are contained. Contained does not mean out or safe by any means. It only means there is a fireline around it and it is not gaining in size.

• Iron Complex: There are four priority fires: the Eagle Fire was at 22,804 acres and 82 percent contained as of Monday night; the Cedar Fire was at 25,106 acres and 98 percent contained; the Buckhorn Fire was at 12,527 acres and 22 percent contained; and the Carey Fire was at 1,848 acres and 29 percent contained.

• Lime Complex: The Lime Complex has burned 60,561 acres and was 75 percent contained on Tuesday. The Miners Fire was at 23,711 acres and 75 percent contained; the Lime Fire was at 21,718 acres and 50 percent contained.

Hyampom Road remained closed until further notice from about three miles west of the junction with Highway 3 to about two miles west of the junction with Forest Road 10.

• Hell’s Half Complex: The complex has burned 15,146 acres and is 100 percent contained.

The mandatory evacuation for the Dry Lake area has been lifted.

• Yolla Bolly Complex: Four fires on 72,367 acres are 30 percent contained.

The Grouse Fire is at 2,034 acres with zero containment; the Trough Fire is 3,686 acres and 100 percent contained; the Yellow fire is 26,164 acres and 20 percent contained; the Vinegar Fire is at 38,751 acres and 28 percent contained.

• Siskiyou Complex: Fires southwest of Happy Camp have scorched 55,872 acres and are 46 percent contained.

• The Bear Wallow Complex: Two fires in the Marble Mountain Wilderness and Trinity Alps Wilderness have burned 9,054 acres and are zero percent contained.

A 16-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trial north of the Etna Summit has been closed.

The Trinity Alps Wilderness north of Caribou Lakes has been closed.

• Blue 2 Complex: Fires west of the Siskiyou Complex have burned 5,915 acres and are 30 percent contained.

• Ukonom Complex: Fires near Forks of Salmon have burned 38,089 acres and are 30 percent contained.

• Panther Fire: Fire 15 miles southwest of Happy Camp has burned 2,056 acres and is zero percent contained.

%d bloggers like this: