Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Facility

Summer Construction and Violations

September 1, 2012 - Ocotillo, California. As Pattern Energy erects the first giant wind turbines on the once unfragmented Colorado Desert landscape, local and regional activists and residents continue to monitor construction. Many violations have been recorded, such as access roads much wider than in the environmental review documents, night lighting disturbing residents, equipment leaking hazardous fluids, and more.

The photos of the green leafing Ocotillo Forest being bulldozed and trampled are tragic. This is not green energy.

^Hundreds of ocotillos destroyed at access road to Turbines-39 & 40.

^Lifting blade assembly at Turbine-134.

^Access road to T-39 & T-40.

^Ocotillos destroyed at T-39 & 40.

^The beautiful desert trampled.

^Destruction at access road to Turbine site 39 and 40.

^New access Road to T-39 & T-40.

^Wind turbine erected.

^New turbines change the landscape forever

^Completed turbines dwarf adjacent transmission line

^The above map comes from the BLM's Environmental Impact Review of the project. It documents that several of the turbines will be built on or near active faults.

Ocotillo Wind Express Lack of Mitigation Compliance

The following report comes from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It is a weekly monitoring report set up to make sure Pattern Energy is in compliance with mitigation standards. There are violations almost every week and the BLM has only issued a couple of citations to Pattern Energy. Mitigation does not work. Dudek was the third party company hired by Pattern Energy to monitor this project. Their reports can be viewed here: http://www.ocotilloeccmp.com/Monitoring.htm

^Wholesale destruction of the desert.

^The first complete Pattern Energy wind turbine now impairs the view in the southern Anza Borrego desert near Ocotillo, California.


^Turbine construction.

^Massive blade arriving on an over-sized truck.

^This is 1 tower part; 111 to go plus blades, nacelle and other parts .

^This truck carrying a wind tower section had to make a ten-point turn to get onto Evan Hewes Highway to access the project site.

^Via the Desert Protective Council:

"Lighthawk provides donated flights to conservation groups across the United States, Mexico, Central America and even parts of Canada.

"Founded in 1979, Lighthawk is a volunteer-based environmental aviation organization, and provides the service to conservation groups who rely on the aerial perspective in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their environmental protection.

"One such example would be the recent, early morning July 24th flight over the Ocotillo Wind Energy site. Photographer Phillip Colla was able to capture significant information, including scale and scope of the project, which just isn’t possible on the ground. The photographs provide an opportunity to gain powerful insights by viewing landscapes from above."

See more:


Night Lighting is Too Bright for Neighbors

Since July 27, 2012 residents of ocotillo next to the wind project have reported industrial-scale flood lights pointed at their houses all night long. They are supposed to be pointed towards the ground or away from communities, but Pattern Energy has violated these agreements continually and caused concern to Ocotillo town residents.

^Across the street from turbine site #99 looking west off BLM route 113, light up and shinning directly east towards a house.

^From a front porch in town.

^View from inside a house looking at the flood light at the wind construction site.

^Annoying construction light all night.

^From a front porch looking west towards turbine #99.

When asked about the lighting, Angelina Havens, Planner III Imperial County Planning & Development Services, said this:

"As stated in Section 2.1.3 of the OWEF Plan of Development and Section of the EIS, to meet the project schedule it may be necessary to work early morning, evenings, or even nights and/or Sundays during the foundation concrete pours and other tasks, to take advantage of the cooler times of the day and during the turbine erection period to take advantage of the times the wind speed is below the maximum safe working conditions. Construction activities occurring onsite are being completed as disclosed in the Plan of Development and EIS.

"Lighting being utilized during construction is in compliance with the Construction Lighting Mitigation Plan, which is readily available on the construction compliance website at http://www.ocotilloeccmp.com/. BLM has been monitoring lighting for nighttime work to ensure compliance with the Construction Lighting Mitigation Plan, which includes requirements to use the minimal amount of light necessary to perform work safely and directing lights downward or toward the area to be illuminated to perform construction activities. The Construction Lighting Mitigation Plan does not require lights to be pointed away from the Town of Ocotillo; however the construction contractor has been observed orienting lights away from the Town of Ocotillo to the greatest extent feasible. In summary, the third-party BLM monitor onsite August 17th and 19th, identified that all lighting was in compliance with the lighting mitigation plan."

^Night construction lighting compromises the peaceful tranquility of the Anza Borrego Desert. (photo by Jim Pelley)

The Desert A Mess

^Former ocotillo forest cleared to make way for a 450 foot turbine foundation for the Ocotillo Wind Express project, Ocotillo, California. (photo by Parke Ewing)

^A July monsoon created a mud pit at the site of construction of the Ocotillo Wind Express Project. Removal of vegetation, biological soil crust and caliche as well as altercation of stream channels have turned parts of the the watershed into a mess. De-watering pumps were running all night a turbine site 174, pictured here. (photo by Parke Ewing)

^After the site got flooded, a mysterious foam appeared in the water. A local resident of Ocotillo is getting the water tested. Many believe this is a dust suppressant called "Gorilla Snot". Pattern Energy has had a very difficult time mitigating this dust.


^Trenching machine.

^Absorbent rolled wrapped around leak soaked with hydraulic oil leaking into the trench.

^Hydraulic fluid was dripping out.

^Hydraulic fluid leaking down inside the trench which is getting buried as the machine moves forward.

^Old, rusted out rebar is being used to secure the foundations for new turbines. This is turbine 169.

^Close up of rusty old rebar used to secure foundations. How safe is this?

^Rusted rebar used to bulid foundation for turbine 169

^Cracked foundation on turnine 90 patched with mastic

See East County Times for more: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/10714


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