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County approves 410-acre Aramis solar project north of Livermore

Resident group vows to appeal decision to Board of Supervisors

The proposal to develop a 410-acre, utility-scale solar power plant north of Livermore were approved last week by the East County Board of Zoning Adjustments, but opponents of the project said they plan to appeal the decision to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

Approved during the zoning board's regular meeting on Nov. 24, the Aramis solar project by Intersect Power will develop an estimated total of 580 acres of land, of which 410 acres will contain solar arrays and support facilities.

A collection of local residents opposed to the project have issued a statement declaring their intent to appeal the project's approval, citing primarily environmental and zoning concerns. However, Intersect Power officials have expressed confidence in the project's benefits to the region.

"The project speaks for itself," Marisa Mitchell, a principal at Intersect Power, told the Weekly. "The (environmental impact report) carried out by Alameda County was conducted independently by experts, and I think both the final EIR's disclosure of the project's very low impacts combined with the clear benefits that the project brings to the community really speak for themselves."

"I think the Board of Supervisors will recognize these things and reaffirm the wisdom of the Board of Zoning Adjustments and planning staff," she added.

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Located roughly two miles north of the Livermore city limits and Interstate 580 in unincorporated Alameda County, the project is divided into four parcels, with the largest being located south of Manning Road and extending west of North Livermore Avenue by approximately one mile.

County officials said that in addition to creating up to 400 living-wage, all-union construction jobs and up to four permanent jobs, the project would assist the state in meeting renewable energy generation goals under Senate Bill 100 -- which requires renewable energy and zero-carbon resources to supply 100% of electric retail sales to customers by the year 2045.

"The county finds that the project, with all the mitigation measures proposed, would best balance the advancement of solar technology and renewable energy, while also reducing the significant and unavoidable impacts on aesthetics and land use and planning to the lowest level practicable," county planning staff members said in a report to the zoning board.

Despite the zoning board approval, project opponents said they take issue with perceived environmental concerns that arise from the project as well as with Alameda County officials lacking a comprehensive plan for how to expand renewable energy in rural areas.

"Alameda County wishes to expand renewable energy in its effort to fight climate change. We support this goal. We also know the ends do not justify the means. The Aramis project egregiously violates Measure D and the county zoning code. And, the desire by county staff to support renewables has clouded their judgment," said Chris O'Brien, chair of Save North Livermore Valley, a coalition of residents opposed to the project.

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"The county has not undertaken work essential to achieving its climate change goals. The county lacks both a comprehensive solar policy and a map of locations suitable for solar facilities that pose the least conflict with open space, wildlife habitat, agricultural land and scenic corridors," he added. "The Aramis plant will destroy the habitat for numerous threatened and special status species. We are confident that the Board of Supervisors will carefully review the evidentiary record and come to the same conclusion."

Project proponents have generally expressed optimism about the appeal process, citing the recent county approval, the project's contribution to renewable energy and its diverse base of support as indicators of its value. They further contend that the opponents issues generally don't hold water.

"The county has repeatedly found that solar is a compatible use on large parcel agriculture, which is the way that this site is zoned, and the EIR is clear that the agricultural and habitat values of this particular site is very low," Mitchell said.

"Support for this project is not limited to a small group of stakeholders, and I think you'll find that, when you review the record, the range of supporters for this project really is completely diverse. From young people to old people to Spanish-speaking people, people who are business owners, people who are just concerned citizens, there is a really interesting range of diversity of voices and I don't think that one can say the same thing for the opposition's side," Mitchell added.

Opponents have until 10 days after the project's approval to submit an appeal for review by the Board of Supervisors; as of Tuesday afternoon, an appeal has not been filed.

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County approves 410-acre Aramis solar project north of Livermore

Resident group vows to appeal decision to Board of Supervisors

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 5:24 pm

The proposal to develop a 410-acre, utility-scale solar power plant north of Livermore were approved last week by the East County Board of Zoning Adjustments, but opponents of the project said they plan to appeal the decision to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

Approved during the zoning board's regular meeting on Nov. 24, the Aramis solar project by Intersect Power will develop an estimated total of 580 acres of land, of which 410 acres will contain solar arrays and support facilities.

A collection of local residents opposed to the project have issued a statement declaring their intent to appeal the project's approval, citing primarily environmental and zoning concerns. However, Intersect Power officials have expressed confidence in the project's benefits to the region.

"The project speaks for itself," Marisa Mitchell, a principal at Intersect Power, told the Weekly. "The (environmental impact report) carried out by Alameda County was conducted independently by experts, and I think both the final EIR's disclosure of the project's very low impacts combined with the clear benefits that the project brings to the community really speak for themselves."

"I think the Board of Supervisors will recognize these things and reaffirm the wisdom of the Board of Zoning Adjustments and planning staff," she added.

Located roughly two miles north of the Livermore city limits and Interstate 580 in unincorporated Alameda County, the project is divided into four parcels, with the largest being located south of Manning Road and extending west of North Livermore Avenue by approximately one mile.

County officials said that in addition to creating up to 400 living-wage, all-union construction jobs and up to four permanent jobs, the project would assist the state in meeting renewable energy generation goals under Senate Bill 100 -- which requires renewable energy and zero-carbon resources to supply 100% of electric retail sales to customers by the year 2045.

"The county finds that the project, with all the mitigation measures proposed, would best balance the advancement of solar technology and renewable energy, while also reducing the significant and unavoidable impacts on aesthetics and land use and planning to the lowest level practicable," county planning staff members said in a report to the zoning board.

Despite the zoning board approval, project opponents said they take issue with perceived environmental concerns that arise from the project as well as with Alameda County officials lacking a comprehensive plan for how to expand renewable energy in rural areas.

"Alameda County wishes to expand renewable energy in its effort to fight climate change. We support this goal. We also know the ends do not justify the means. The Aramis project egregiously violates Measure D and the county zoning code. And, the desire by county staff to support renewables has clouded their judgment," said Chris O'Brien, chair of Save North Livermore Valley, a coalition of residents opposed to the project.

"The county has not undertaken work essential to achieving its climate change goals. The county lacks both a comprehensive solar policy and a map of locations suitable for solar facilities that pose the least conflict with open space, wildlife habitat, agricultural land and scenic corridors," he added. "The Aramis plant will destroy the habitat for numerous threatened and special status species. We are confident that the Board of Supervisors will carefully review the evidentiary record and come to the same conclusion."

Project proponents have generally expressed optimism about the appeal process, citing the recent county approval, the project's contribution to renewable energy and its diverse base of support as indicators of its value. They further contend that the opponents issues generally don't hold water.

"The county has repeatedly found that solar is a compatible use on large parcel agriculture, which is the way that this site is zoned, and the EIR is clear that the agricultural and habitat values of this particular site is very low," Mitchell said.

"Support for this project is not limited to a small group of stakeholders, and I think you'll find that, when you review the record, the range of supporters for this project really is completely diverse. From young people to old people to Spanish-speaking people, people who are business owners, people who are just concerned citizens, there is a really interesting range of diversity of voices and I don't think that one can say the same thing for the opposition's side," Mitchell added.

Opponents have until 10 days after the project's approval to submit an appeal for review by the Board of Supervisors; as of Tuesday afternoon, an appeal has not been filed.

Comments

Mike
Registered user
Val Vista
on Dec 2, 2020 at 10:08 am
Mike, Val Vista
Registered user
on Dec 2, 2020 at 10:08 am

NIMBY - Not In My Back Yard. Folks that do not want the north Livermore Solar plans to move forward realize this: your NIMBY attitude is theft of value from the property owner. If you really don't want a solar power plant to be built, then your only recourse should be to purchase the property. Sadly private property rights in the USA have been eroded by local jurisdictions and our courts.


Rich Buckley
Registered user
Livermore
on Dec 3, 2020 at 1:29 pm
Rich Buckley, Livermore
Registered user
on Dec 3, 2020 at 1:29 pm

Sorry, I thought we could post pictures. No Map Included

This dilemma of placing solar farms in North Livermore has problematic alternatives. Diversification of locations vs consolidated large locations (a huge grid of about 7 by 7 miles+- of solar farms serving the Western half the United States) or about 80 times the size of Livermore's proposal.

It turns out there are multiple big corporate pushes occuring right now on multiple levels of government by big business interests, Peaker Plants of Batteries, Solar, Small Modular Reactors (SMR), Wind, In Water Wind Farms (completely underwater generators) and the hope-of-all-hope in our own NIF program here in Livermore LLNL. In the mean time, China has their coal fired plants.

I started out personally enthusiastic for the push of the Oak Ridge Thorium Molten Salt Small Modular Reactor (25-MegaWatts per cell, with 500-MW projects). The average Project would be 60-MW, outlined below until I realized everyone will want one, and proliferation will be inevitable and discomforting in SMR's has unlimited funds behind it globally. The DOD has authorized a SMR now under construction in Los Alamos (ref. below).

Roughly there is a market For 20,000 (Plus Reserves) in Small Modular Reactors (SMR) In US .

FEAR AND LITTLE TRUST IN GOVERNMENT

Fear remains the greatest deterrent to SMR use on a broad scale.

The Marketing Map included below just shows hospitals that might possibly purchase an SMR. Now add about 4000 more dots of active military bases across the US to the dots on the map. Perhaps add an additional 1000 dots for counties, cities and large corporate campuses. All together we double the number of dots on the map. Seeing that many nuclear reactors is unnerving.

The only cost factors I could find were published by NuScale. They estimate the cost for SMR power at scale should come in at today’s dollars at $100 per Megawatt hour. Using their math a typical 60-MW, SMR over its 10-year life will cost about $525,000,000

If we pressed for a market share of 5000 Small Modular Reactors out of the potential market, the operating costs would be $2.62-Trillion. That’s just in the United States.

ENTER ENVIRONMENTAL RESISTANCE

The scientists we send to report to Congress do not have the heart to allow this map (see inserted map) or anything like it to be created. They do not support dependence on nuclear power. But I have not heard them speak on Solar Power recently. They know an operation of SMR's of this size will require an operating staff of at least 50,000 to 75,000 highly trained personnel. Even if we have a perfect accident free US record, the rest of the world will not.

PROLIFERATION

Five continents will need at least a 1/4-million people continuously employed in the industry of just plant operations.

We can’t wrap our minds around the magnitude of all the safety issues without a great amount of public education.

We will likely be creating globally about 50,000 new potential hazard zones with radio active materials, even if designed with walkaway, passive safety (walkaway, passive safety is when the molten salt carrying thorium cools and hardens into crystal in catastrophic accidents - watch the first video in this chain of videos Web Link )

A great idea Solar and SMR's both suddenly faces reality of our FEAR.

SUDDENLY WE ALL BECOME ENVIRONMENTALISTS

I find it helps in facing decision making choices, if we consider all the alternatives including the do-nothing choice.

Here are areas we haven’t officially, publicly considered. What about zero point energy? Is there such a thing?

MAINSTREAM SCIENCE says "Stop talking about zero point, it's not real" and they even have an attitude about it: Web Link

BUT

THE US NAVY says this: Web Link
This isn’t zero point, it’s mostly about The National Ignition Facility (NIF) right here in LLNL, Livermore, Ca. In another episode the US Navy just filed for a patent that the patent office said was impossible science that does not exist. The Navy appealed the patent office denial say the equipment does work and demanded the patent office approve the patent. It appears to be Zero Point energy patent.

MY OWN DISCOVERY

In 1965 Web Link

Knowing a reality, is different than theorizing a reality. I saw, I experienced, I know. Many of my pilot friends, many military personnel and citizens have all had similar experiences. There are engines that drive the machines we all saw. If they are not the mythical zero point energy engines, what are they to place mega structures as large as cities in our sky.

In the meantime we sell each other “hope” and that’s better than nothing. Hope is what government is selling us right now. Nothing right now is being delivered on a scale meeting our demand yet. Molten Salt Small Modular Reactors in perspective will most likely remain caught behind a wall of FEAR, the Los Alamos SMR to the contrary notwithstanding.

Say, could you hand me that log next to you, I need to keep the fire burning to boil the water for our coffee....thanks...


Rich Buckley
Registered user
Livermore
on Dec 3, 2020 at 5:04 pm
Rich Buckley, Livermore
Registered user
on Dec 3, 2020 at 5:04 pm

Here’s the Navy’s drive Web Link


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