Largest solar plant in Bay Area opposed by Livermore farmers and environmentalists

By Mark Chediak, Bloomberg Green, July 29, 2021

“[A] group of ranchers, farmers, and environmentalists [oppose] what would be the largest solar plant built in the San Francisco Bay Area. The clash offers a preview of potential disputes that could slow the ambitious push by California and the Biden Administration to develop clean energy to combat climate change.

“Opponents of [The Aramis Renewable Energy Project], including … Save North Livermore Valley and the Ohlone Audubon Society, recently sued the county of Alameda, which approved the solar farm earlier this year, saying that the renewable energy facility would violate a voter-approved measure designed to protect open space, agriculture and wildlife habitat.

“To meet its goal of a carbon-neutral grid by 2045, California will need to triple its annual solar and wind installations, according to a recent state study.

“In Alameda County, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Aramis solar plant in March after a contentious eight-hour meeting, saying it will help meet local clean energy needs.

“To mitigate environmental concerns, the solar panels will be set back from a local creek and avoid federally designated habitat for the threatened California red-legged frog. The company will develop a hiking trail along the creek for the county as well.

“In addition, the site will be shielded from the road by drought-friendly landscaping and provide open spaces for sheep grazing and bee keeping in what the company calls a model for ‘agrivoltaics’ – marrying agriculture with solar.

“Robert Selna, an attorney representing [opposition group Save North Livermore Valley], said the county should have anticipated opposition. He said the dispute may have been avoided if the county had completed a plan to designate areas where solar would have the least impact on the environment and threatened species.”

Read the full article here(~6 min.)

Previously in Roundup: On November 30, 2020, J.K. Dineen reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on previous contentions over the Aramis Renewable Energy Project project after the East County Board of Zoning Adjustments voted 2-0 to approve it. Read that story in the December 2020 Northern News here.

Return to Northern News here.