Taming California's 'Deadly' Wind Farm

With 5,000 windmills in a 50-square-mile area, the Altamont Pass is the world's largest wind farm, producing enough electricity to power 200,000 households annually.

Published: 30-Dec-2004

If environmentalists and state officials have their way, the towering windmills that dot the Altamont Pass will be replaced and moved to prevent the killing of thousands of birds annually, including species protected under federal and state laws.

In an effort to curtail the carnage, they say the turbines -- which provide one-third of California's wind power -- should be newer, taller models and be concentrated on the leeward side of the hills.

This spring, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, home to the state-designated Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, will decide whether to include those recommendations and others when renewing permits on scattered parcels owned or leased by a dozen energy companies.

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