The Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Humboldt Wind Energy Project is now available for review. Humboldt Wind, LLC submitted an application to Humboldt County for a conditional use permit to construct and operate the proposed project, a wind energy generation facility. Public comment on this document is invited for a 45-day period extending from April 15- June 5. More information on the project is provided below.
Project location: The project site is approximately 20 miles south of Eureka, roughly 12 miles southeast of the city of Fortuna and 22 miles north of the community of Garberville and is bisected by U.S. Highway 101. The town of Scotia is adjacent to the northern edge of the project site.
Project description: The proposed project consists of a maximum of 60 wind turbine generators (WTGs) and associated infrastructure with a nameplate generating capacity (theoretical maximum energy generation) of up to 155 MW. This project has the potential to power 60,000 homes simultaneously.
The project site is approximately 2,218-acres and would contain all of the turbines, as well as associated infrastructure. The project boundaries have been defined based on a 1,000-foot-wide corridor centered on the representative locations of WTGs; a 200-foot-wide corridor centered on project roadways, the electrical collection line, and the generation transmission line (gen-tie); and a 500-foot-wide buffer around proposed staging areas, temporary impact areas, and the project substation. The exact footprint of individual WTGs within the project site would be determined during final engineering design but would generally be placed along Monument and Bear River ridges. Turbine heights could reach up to 600 feet tall, with a rotor diameter of 492 feet. The environmental impact analysis in this DEIR is based on a maximum number of WTGs that may be placed within the boundaries of the project site. The assumptions developed for this analysis support a conservative approach to project planning and environmental review, as they represent a maximum level of potential development.
In addition to the wind turbines and transformers, the project includes ancillary facilities such as temporary staging areas, access roads, 34.5-kilovolt (kV) collection lines (referred to in this EIR as the “collection system”), operations and maintenance (O&M) facility, a substation, a modified utility switchyard, and a 115 kV gen-tie along Shively Ridge.
A portion of the gen-tie would cross the Eel River; this portion would be constructed underground. The project's point of interconnection with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) transmission grid would be PG&E's Bridgeville Substation. PG&E is a public utility that sells energy in the California utility market, which is operated by the California Independent System Operator.
The project would include the following components, which are discussed in detail in “Project Description”:
up to 60 turbines (capable of generating 2–5 MW of electricity each) erected on tubular steel towers set on concrete foundations, as well as the associated turbine pads, temporary staging areas, and transformers;
construction of access roads;
an up to 25-mile, 115 kV gen-tie, including an underground crossing of the Eel River, following Shively Ridge and ultimately connecting to the existing PG&E transmission system;
a project substation located on-site;
an underground electrical collection system linking turbines to each other and to the project substation;
an underground communication system (fiber optic cable) adjacent to the collection system;
a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system between each turbine and the substation and between the project substation and the Bridgeville Substation to monitor and control project output and the transmission of energy into the system;
an up to 5-acre O&M facility, including an operations building, a parking area, and an outdoor storage area with perimeter fencing;
a 10-acre temporary staging area and a construction trailer and parking area located within the O&M facility;
a component offloading location at Fields Landing;
two temporary bypasses off U.S. 101 (Hookton Overpass and 12th Street Bypass) for transporting oversize loads;
up to six permanent meteorological towers;
three 5-acre, temporary staging areas distributed throughout the project site, one of which would include one temporary cement batch plant on Monument Ridge; and
up to 17 miles of new 24-foot access roads.
List of Significant Environmental Effects: The Draft EIR identifies significant impacts in the following California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) environmental issue areas: aesthetics and visual resources, air quality; biological resources; cultural resources; hazards and hazardous materials; hydrology and water quality, noise and vibration; and transportation and circulation, tribal cultural resources and wildfire. As described in the EIR many of these impacts can be fully mitigated but some cannot, and they would remain significant and unavoidable.
Address where copy of Draft EIR is available:
The Draft EIR and other project materials are now available for public review and download on the County of Humboldt’s website at https://humboldtgov.org/2408/Humboldt-Wind-Energy-Project
Printed copies of the document are available for public review at the following locations during normal business hours:
Humboldt County Public Library - Rio Dell Branch
715 Wildwood Avenue
Rio Dell, CA 95562
Humboldt County Public Library - Ferndale
807 Main Street
Ferndale, CA 95536
Humboldt County Library – Eureka
1313 3rd Street
Eureka, CA 95501
Scotia Community Services District
400 Church Street
Scotia, CA 95565
The Multi- Generational Center
2280 Newburg Road
Fortuna, CA 95540
County of Humboldt
Planning and Building Department
3015 H Street
Eureka, CA 95501
Should a member of the public require a printed copy of the document one may be purchased at the individual’s expense, at Scrapper’s Edge, 728 4th Street, Eureka, CA 95501.
Public review period for the Draft EIR: April 15, 2019 to June 5, 2019
All comments on the Draft EIR must be received by the County no later than 5:00pm on June 5, 2019 to be considered. Pursuant to Section 15088a of the CEQA Guidelines, late comments will be considered only at the County’s discretion.
Comments must be directed to:
Humboldt Wind Energy Project Planner
County of Humboldt Planning Department
3015 H Street
Eureka, CA 95501
View the July 31, 2018 Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report and August 2nd, 2018 Press Release at: https://humboldtgov.org/2408/Humboldt-Wind-Energy-Project