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Solano scaled back

Pacific Gas & Electric's Solano wind concept is not yet a plan but it is still a live idea -- and may even result in bids by the end of the year. The concept, originally for 300 turbines near Cordelia in Solano, was floated last year to residents of the county (Windpower Monthly, May 1993). But it has since become bogged down in a tangle of planning and open space requirements for the three neighbouring cities and the county of Solano. Although PG&E is appealing the latest decision, the utility is also now suggesting it only install 150 instead of 300, 400 kW turbines.

Citizens are contemplating plans to scale back the project even further than 150 turbines, primarily for visual reasons. "That would be below the level where we could bid it," says PG&E's Frank Rierson. He hopes PG&E can get the concept accepted as it now stands, or have PG&E opt out of the local open space plan. Bids may have to be out this year for the integrated competitive bidding for the Public Utilities Commission, for 49 MW to 200 MW of installed capacity, says Rierson.

The 3900 acres are owned by PG&E just west of Cordelia Villages. The so-called Tri-City Open Space area was created with the cities of Benicia, Fairfield and Vallejo, says Rierson. The utility could grant easements to local citizens for planned hiking trails and parks while getting the go-ahead for the wind farm. But the county would still have to grant an exception to the law prohibiting rows of turbines visible from Interstate 680.

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