Wind Turbine Project could be coming to Santa Barbara County

Posted at 7:50 PM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 22:50:16-05

A wind turbine project could be coming to Santa Barbara County and would be located south of Lompoc.

According to Santa Barbara County staff, the project could cut back on 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and provide enough energy for 43,000 homes.

The proposed wind energy initiative called the Strauss Wind Energy Project is aiming to root itself on the same piece of land as the 2009 Lompoc Wind Energy Project.

This new project, which will be presented Wednesday to the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission, will consist of 29 wind turbines being installed measuring over 400 feet.

"We took a project that was permitted at 65 turbine locations and brought that down to 29 turbine locations... so less than half the number of turbines up there and producing the same amount of clean renewable energy," said Daniel Duke, vice president of development at BayWa r.e.

The energy produced from the turbines will interconnect to the existing PG&E grid in Lompoc, however the project still has some residents who live in the surrounding area concerned.

"They propose to destroy a good part of Miguelito Canyon Road by straightening the road and taking out oak trees and just completely ruin the beauty of that area," said Kathy Badrak, resident in Lompoc.

According to the Santa Barbara County staff report, changes to the area would have to be made to accommodate bringing in the wind turbines, and later on being able to reach them.

One of the impacts would require the removal of 158 oak trees, but according to Duke the ground impact decreased from the original plane.

"We are getting more bang for your buck if you will on the turbine sites- so they are slightly larger than what was proposed the last time but it enables us to produce the same amount with less ground disturbance," said Duke.

The hearing held Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. in Santa Barbara will be at the Santa Barbara Engineering Building at 127 E. Anapamu St. The planning commission will either approve or deny the Strauss Wind Energy Project.

The county said a second hearing is a possibility on Friday depending on the number of people who attend with questions.