Questions Raised Over Future Renewable Energy Impacts

April 5, 2010 - A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the Imperial Valley south of Calexico at 3:40 p.m. The epicenter was 16 miles southwest of Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico. Aftershocks as high as 5.0 to 5.7 rocked Seeley, California, with others at Mexicali, Ocotillo, and Calexico. 861 quakes have been recorded since April 6, 11 AM.

Our contacts reported that the ground started violently shaking and rolling, and went on for many seconds. "It was the strongest earthquake I have ever felt. The pool had rolling waves and some people in the neighborhood started screaming," said one witness.

In Ocotillo foreshocks and the aftershocks and movement continued for several minutes after the shaking stopped, at times seeming never-ending. One resident estimated most quakes were along the Laguna Salada Fault that passes northwest and meets the southwest corner of Tessera/Stirling's Imperial Solar Project (SES Solar 2) site. The U.S. Geological Survey told residents they will be sending staff to look for land surface ruptures A local activist told us, "Doubt that the SES units [40-foot-tall Suncatcher dishes] could have withstood the twisting and long shaking that happened yesterday! Terrified as things went flying."

According to the Imperial Valley Press Online, about a quarter of storefront windows on Main Street in El Centro were shattered, while many stores had collapsed ceilings. A major waterline broke on the south side of town. A light pole broke off at the base in another area. Traffic lights at major intersections stopped working.

The quake also took out power in most of the Imperial Valley temporarily, and Interstate 8 sustained damage and was closed in one part.

"You would think this would be a wakeup call for energy developers. I can't imagine what this would do to all of those Stirling Mirrors on the Solar Two site. A sea of broken glass?" said one concerned local activist.

See USGS-CalTech Seismic Net for the latest on the quake.

^30 kilometers south of Mexicali.


^Dust flies off a mountain during the quake. La Rumorosa, Baja California.

Wind Turbines, SunCatcher Dishes, Transmission Lines

These incredible photos of the 7.2 quake impacts were taken in the immediate
proximity of Sempra's 1,250 MW Energia Sierra Juarez (ESJ) wind turbine project
just south of the border in Baja at La Rumorosa.

The area is also very near the site of SDG&E's proposed ECO Substation at the border,
that is needed for ESJ and Iberdrola's Tule Wind in McCain Valley. As far as we know, industrial turbines have not been tested for seismic impact stability other than a recent test on an 80 foot turbine at UCSD.

The epicenter of the quake was reportedly on the Laguna Salada Fault which is much closer to the Solar Two site and the Imperial Valley Substation that is the root of the Sunrise Powerlink and the existing Southwest Powerlink.

Documentation exists of a 7.8 quake in 1892 that caused damage and ground fissures in McCain Valley and Western Imperial Valley. (See USGS)



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