Opponents to windmill project in Searchlight to rally this afternoon

Simulation of what windmills will look like east of Searchlight.

The wind is supposed to be out of the southwest at about 12 mph — about what most wind turbines need to generate electricity — when the Rally to Save Searchlight Desert and Mountains kicks off at 1 p.m. today.

According to a flier by organizer Judy Bundorf, “Sacred Land near Spirit Mountain and the treasured landscapes surrounding Searchlight, Nevada are threatened by a proposal to build an ill-sited industrial scale wind farm.

“Please join us in Searchlight, Nevada for a peaceful rally to oppose the Searchlight Wind Project and develop clean energy in locations that will not impact the wildlife, tourism and cultural diversity of the region.”rallyart

The rally is slated to start at 1 p.m. and run to 4 p.m. at the parking lot on the southeast corning of U.S. 95 and Cottonwood Cove Road.

The Bureau of Land Management has yet to issue a record of decision (ROD) on the project, though several deadlines have come and gone. According to the local office of BLM, the tentative date for the ROD is now mid-March. With this administration’s obsession with renewable energy, I pity the poor bureaucrat who dares to deny any ROD of this kind.

The project was probably dead in the water until Congress, as one of the more than 60 ornaments attached to the fiscal cliff deal, extended a production tax credit for wind turbine projects that break ground in 2013. But the Searchlight Wind Project still doesn’t have a purchase agreement with any utility for the power it might produce, according to the most recent comments from company spokesman Dick Bryan, the former senator and governor, a man with considerable juice.

In October the Clark County Commission unanimously agreed to extend for two years permits for Duke Energy to erect 87 wind turbines — each 425 feet tall — on 19,000 acres of BLM land east of Searchlight. Mysteriously the windmills planned for west of U.S. 95, where Sen. Harry Reid has a home, were dropped from the plan.

Despite the fact wind energy costs three times as much as fossil fuel-generated power and requires tax subsidies and tax breaks to pencil out, the county commissioners fawned over the prospect of a handful of construction jobs — 300 to 400 — and ignored the fact that draining money from the private sector via higher power bills and taxes kills jobs — on average two to four for every one created. Permanent jobs will amount to a couple dozen.

The Searchlight town board has twice voted to reject the windmill project.

Bundorf told county commissioners before they approved the extension, “This is not an eco friendly project. Pardon me to offer one more bit of math. When they say it’s a 200-megawatt project, that’s if the wind is blowing between 15 and 40 miles per hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Typical output from commercial wind farms ranges from 20 and 30 percent of the nameplate rating. In England during the last cold spell two years ago, they were getting 5 percent or less.”

Rally poster

2 comments on “Opponents to windmill project in Searchlight to rally this afternoon

  1. […] the planned installation of an industry-scale wind turbine farm east of Searchlight. (See earlier blog for details and a photo […]

  2. […] Never mind that renewables that would have to be built now to comply with these requirements cost four times as much as power from natural gas-fired turbines, which is the cleanest fossil-fuel currently available and its price is declining as shale gas production increases. Also, pay no heed to the fact wind and solar must have gas- or coal-fired plants idling on standby for when a cloud passes over or the wind speed drops below 12 mph. […]

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