May 25: Recurrent Energy has made arrangements to initiate a “demonstration project” just south of the proposed Yakima project. The announcement came at the Mojave Chamber of Commerce meeting on May 22, despite assurances from Kern County that the project was in “deep freeze”. According to Recurrent’s Seth Israel the demonstration project will be much smaller than the Yakima project, only 22 acres, and located at Purdy and Holt in southwest Mojave. The demonstration project will only mow the vegetation instead of grade it, and will include fencing around the area to block the wind and reduce fugitive dust. The project will also be monitored by a contractor hired by Recurrent to measure air quality and particulate matter at a time of year with mild wind. The results of this data will be used in future months to persuade the Board of Supervisors to issue the zoning changes and conditional use permit that will allow Recurrent to break ground on its much larger 262 acre Yakima solar project.
The Mojave Foundation is an avid supporter of Solar Energy but we are opposed to the location of the Yakima solar project, which poses a health and safety risk to our residents. The proposed Yakima project is only 1,400 feet upwind of a densely populated area (Mojave Gardens), as well as a trailer park, the Sheriff’s Office, CHP, Hotels, and millions of dollars of investment on the Mojave Air & Space Port. We also reject the scientific method which is being used, since the measurements will be taken at a time of year that is far less-windy than the time when construction would begin on Yakima, and we do not consider the experiment to be objective since it was designed and conducted by Recurrent’s own contractor, Environ. This project poses too grave a health risk to the children and elderly directly downwind, as evidenced these pictures taken throughout the month of April of Recurrent’s Columbia-I and II projects, despite the acre foot of water spent daily (2 million gallons per week) to control dust. We urge residents and interested parties to write letters to the Kern County Planning Department to voice their concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or 2700 M Street, Suite 100, Bakersfield, CA 93301-2323.