Despite lack of wind, Phase two of construction begins at Ocotillo

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1In his March 5 video log, Jim Pelley recorded the arrival some of of the last 18 wind turbines at Ocotillo. Phase one of the project has now been online four months, during which he has recorded very little wind.

“They told us this area has commercial winds,” Pelley says in the video. “Well, I find it hard to believe. If this is commercial winds, why have I video taped so many days of  these wind turbines not moving at all.”

In their January 9 Newswire, Mike Garland, the CEO of Pattern Energy, said “ … The Ocotillo site has the strongest winds in the Imperial Valley, which results in attractive energy prices for San Diego County residents.”

Michael R Niggli, the CEO of San Diego Gas & Electric, added that “When the Sunrise Powerlink was put into service this past June, it instantly brought reliability to a region with strained resources; one of the key reasons why the transmission line was designed. Six months later, the line is carrying its first green contracted megawatts, solidifying another reason SDG&E proposed and built this project.  We applaud Pattern Energy’s perseverance in seeing this project through and we look forward to the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility being the first of more than a half dozen other renewable projects in Imperial County to connect to the Sunrise Powerlink.”

The release states that, “Once fully operational, the Ocotillo Wind project will provide enough clean and renewable energy to power nearly 125,000 homes in Southern California each year.”

On most days, Pelley’s videos record wind speeds of between 0 and 4 mph.

An isolated entry, on February 24, mentions that the wind speed had reached 14 mph earlier that day. (They were at 7 mph when he made the video.)

In contrast to Pattern’s claims, Pelley notes that so far the project seldom produces enough energy to power a single home. So why is construction on this $600 million dollar project, financed by taxpayer dollars, going forward?

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