Big solar development is grabbing many of the headlines on the renewable energy front in California, but the state has hardly turned its back on other sustainable power sources. Case in point: Balfour Wind Energy Constructors recently completed Phase I of the Alta Wind Energy Center in the Tehachapi Mountains, the company said.
The finished phase of the Terra-Gen Power-developed center comprises 100 1.5sle GE wind turbines capable of delivering up to 150 megawatts (MW) of power. Ultimately, the Alta Wind Energy Center – which counts Google among its investors – will generate enough electricity to power 275,000 homes in Southern California, increasing California’s total wind-power capacity by 25 percent, Balfour said.
Phase I of the project, set at altitudes ranging between 3,000 t0 6,000 feet in the Tehachapis, was delivered on time and well within budget, Balfour said. The company credited close collaboration with local entities and having a work sequence that enabled continuous work in permitted areas while permits were pending for other areas.
In its announcement, Balfour also touted its work with county and state authorities to protect flora and fauna in the project area, including the Desert Tortoise and Bakersfield Cactus.