Thursday, February 26, 2009

Forecast: Light to Moderate Winds

In the yachting world, sailboat racers have a derogatory term for weather conditions that make competition temporarily impossible due to lack of wind: "DFC" (Dead F&#%ing Calm). That term could be aptly applied to the wind energy industry in California these days.

Yesterday, it was noted that Iowa has surpassed California as the number 2 state in terms of wind energy. Today, the San Jose Mercury News has a piece about the grim future of wind energy in our state.

The Merc quotes Mark Tholke of wind energy company Enxco who cites the credit crunch, a frustrating state permitting process, and the lack of transmission access in places where the wind blows best in California as reasons why the industry has hit the skids. According to Tholke, look for only "two or three" projects to be built in 2009.

Buying power from wind energy projects in neighboring staes is emerging as a more attractive option than siting and building new projects here in California, but Tholke notes that two areas in California do show promise for future development: Tehachapi and Solano County.