As part of its ambitious program to supply 20% of the electricity for the city of Los Angeles from renewable sources by 2010, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is moving forward with a project that will use GE Energy’s wind turbine technology to produce up to 120 MW of wind power.
The Pine Tree Wind Project will feature 80 of GE Energy’s 1.5-MW wind turbines and will be located approximately 110 miles north of Los Angeles, near Mojave, in Kern County. Offering windy and hilly conditions, the site includes a section of the Mojave Desert and the southern edge of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
First announced in 2003 but delayed due to permitting and technical challenges, it will be the first wind project owned by the city of Los Angeles. With project completion expected by the end of 2007, the wind-generated power will be used by LADWP to help meet its aggressive renewable energy goals as part of the city’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). The project’s estimated annual generation will be enough to meet the requirements of approximately 120,000 Los Angeles residents.
In addition to supplying the wind turbines, GE is selling about a third of the land required for the project to the city of Los Angeles.
LADWP will construct a new transmission line and substation to connect the Pine Tree project site to a high-voltage transmission line running up the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The wind farm will include standard pad-mount transformers, underground collection systems and feeds into the new substation.
The Pine Tree project has completed extensive environmental impact studies to monitor and protect threatened and endangered species including the desert tortoise and the Mojave ground squirrel. The project’s mitigation plan involves specific actions to minimize negative impacts to sensitive vegetation communities and wildlife, including birds, and known archeological and historical sites during project construction and operations.