STATUS: In progress with opposition
OPPOSITION: Local activists; Local residents
BACKGROUND: An Indian tribe, an energy company and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. have all come together with plans to create a 160-megawatt wind farm on the Campo Indian Reservation east of San Diego. If built, the plant would be the second largest wind farm in California. There is already one wind farm located on the reservation but the new project would generate more than three times the power, eliminating up to 57.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
This $300 million project would consist of 100 new windmills and would produce enough energy to power 104,000 homes at peak production. This project falls in line with the California’s mandate to utilize renewable energy sources for 20% of energy by 2010 and 33% in 2020. The project will require Federal – but not state – approval since it is located on a reservation.
This project already faces opposition from local citizens and activists who cite concerns regarding noise, possible fires, as well as aesthetics as reasons to prevent the project from advancing. Diminished property value is also voiced as a concern.
Tax concerns have slowed down the project. As NPR reports, the tribe's status as a sovereign nation means that it doesn't have access to the federal tax credits that make big renewable energy projects affordable. In addition, the tribes cannot levy taxes on companies operating on Indian land and, therefore, cannot raise the kind of revenue needed to build a wind farm on their own.
SOURCES: San Diego Union-Tribune: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/jun/11/wind-farm-project-set-campo-reservation/?metro;
CBS 8 San Diego: http://www.cbs8.com/Global/story.asp?S=10518485;
Last updated November 8, 2010