Giant Wind Turbine Farms near Livermore and
Rio Vista in California
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1. Giant Wind Turbine Farm Near Livermore

From December 30, 2017 to March 11, 2019, we drove on Interstate Highway 580 (I-580) between Livermore
and Tracy in California at least three times and saw these giant wind turbines atop the hillsides of Altamont
Pass just east of Livermore.

These giant wind turbines are 450 feet tall and each turbine blade is 161 feet long. They are taller than the
famous giant redwood trees or giant sequoia in California.

The relatively small size of cars on I-580 in this picture show the giant size of these wind turbines.

On Friday, Feb. 7, 2015, Google signed an agreement to buy power from this modernized giant wind turbine
farm that will help provide electricity to the Googleplex office complex and the company's data centers in
Mountain View, California.

The relatively small size of cattle on the cattle ranch in this picture show again the giant size of these wind

The relatively small sizes of cars and trucks on Interstate Highway 580 in this picture and the following
picture also show the giant size of these wind turbines.

These giant wind turbines are modern version and were installed starting in 2006 and 2007 time frame. Each
of these giant wind turbines can generate about 2.3 mega watts of electric power. These modern giant wind
turbines are more efficient and are installed to replace the older and smaller wind turbines which were
installed in early 1980s. The older and smaller wind turbines can generate only about 100 KW of electric
power per unit.

Before the major upgrade starting in 2006, there were nearly 6,000 smaller wind turbines in operation on
Altamont Pass.  

In the old days, many Californians have marveled at the vast array of thousands of wind turbines spinning
atop the golden hillsides along Highway 580 between Livermore and Tracy.

For every new and giant turbine installed, 23 of the older obsolete ones are removed. As a result, the total  
number of wind turbines on Altamont Pass is much smaller now with much greater distance between the new
giant wind turbines.
The wind turbine farm on Altamont Pass on north side of I-580 as viewed from Tracy when we were on west
bound of I-580 going from Tracy to Livermore.
The wind turbine farm on Altamont Pass on south side of I-580 as viewed from Tracy.

2. Giant Wind Turbine Farm on Montezuma Hills near Rio Vista

Another large 750 wind turbine farm in California includes three renewable energy projects as the large Shiloh
Wind Power Plant, Next Era Energy Resources High Winds Energy Center and one owned by the Sacramento
Municipal Utility District. They are on the sparsely populated, windswept  Montezuma Hills of Solano County. It
is about 40 miles northeast of San Francisco. The Montezuma Hills area is bounded by the Sacramento River
on the south and east; the Montezuma Slough on the west and roughly by California State Route 12 on the
north. The nearby cities and villages are Rio Vista, Suisun City, Montezuma, Collinsville and Birds Landing. This
wind turbine farm on Montezuma Hills is near the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta area where the mighty
Sacramento River and San Joaquin River converge and flow into the northeast parts of San Francisco Bay
through Suisun Bay and San Pablo Bay.

On January 23, 2018, we came to see and to photograph this second giant wind turbine farm near Rio Vista.
We drove north from East Bay of San Francisco Bay along Highway 680 to Concord, then turned east on
Highway 4 through Pittsburg and Antioch areas where we could see the south side of the giant wind turbine
farm about 6 miles away. Then we turned north along Highway 160 going over the bridge crossing San Joaquin
River and driving along east side of Sacramento River and we could see the southeast side of the giant wind
turbine farm, then we turned east into Highway 12, going over the bridge crossing Sacramento River into Rio
Vista, then we drove east on Highway 12 toward Fairfield and we could see the north side of the giant wind
turbine farm.

On our return trip, from Fairfield City, we drive south on Interstate Highway 80, then went south on Highway
680 going over the bridge crossing Siusun Bay where we could see the giant wind turbine farm about 20 miles

In such driving tour around this giant wind turbine farm, my friend was driving the car, I sat on the front
passenger seat and took all the pictures while our car was moving at normal highway speed.
Aerial view in 2016 from a drone of the giant wind turbine farm on Altamont Pass can be seen in the following
YouTube website:

My previous tours of the large Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm (south east of Bakersfield) and of the large San
Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm (near Palm Springs) in southern California are described on my web pages at:

遠遠望去風電場開闊壯觀,一排排整齊排列的風車, 可再生清潔能源。

South edge of the giant wind turbine farm on Montezuma Hills as viewed from Highway 4.
Southeast edge of the giant wind turbine farm on Montezuma Hills as viewed from Highway 160. The small
sizes of white buildings in the foreground show the giant size of these wind turbines.  From the base to the top
of an upturned blade is about the height of a 40-story building.

Another view of the south edge of the giant wind turbine farm from Highway 4.

Researchers studied wind flows around California and found that the winds coming from the west through San
Pablo Bay are constricted by the Carquinez Strait such that the winds heading east into the Montezuma Hills
between Rio Vista and Birds Landing were exceptional in terms of speed and duration. Also, the tops of the
Montezuma Hills themselves stand between 160 and 280 feet above sea level, providing an elevation boost for
more wind. The area was also attractive because it was sparsely populated and was used for non-intensive
agriculture including sheep grazing and non-irrigated grain growing.   

North edge of the giant wind turbine farm as viewed from Highway 12.
North edge of the giant wind turbine farm as viewed from Highway 12.
Southeast edge of the giant wind turbine farm with reflection on Sacramento River as viewed from Highway
North edge of the giant wind turbine farm as viewed from Highway 12.
Highway 160 along Sacramento River. The far side is Rio Vista.
Sacramento River as viewed from Highway 160.
Southwest edge of the giant wind turbine farm as viewed about 20 miles away on Highway 680 on the bridge
crossing Siusun Bay.

Aerial views of this wind turbine farm on Montezuma Hills can be seen
here, here and here.

In the dry summer and fall seasons, these hills become golden brown color.
We drove on I-580 through this area again on December 31, 2018 and took these three pictures. Notice that
several tiny black dots on the pasture on right side are black colored cattle, again showing the giant size of
these wind turbines.

Winter is the raining season in California such that the grass are turning green in late December.
The reason for my interest in such wind turbine farms is described in the Appendix below.


Appendix: Progress in Battery Technology for Clean and Renewable Energy

The life expectancies of people living in developing countries with heavily polluted air and environment are
mostly shorter by 10 years or more than those in highly developed countries with clean air and clean

This is a good motivation to use clean and renewable energy sources such as wind turbine farm or solar panel
farm instead of the old and dirty fossil fuels for electric power generation.

In last 40 years, the wind turbine technology and solar power technology have gone through several
generations of improvements and cost reduction to make them cost effective, reliable and practical.

However, one serious obstacle is the weather. The electric power generated from a wind turbine farm may not
be reliable because there is no wind in certain time period. Similarly, the electric power generated from a solar
farm may not be reliable because it may be at night with no sun or it may be a raining day or a snowing day
with no sun. So, cost effective storage of energy for use during “bad” weather conditions has been an
important issue for such clean and renewable energy systems.

Fortunately, cost effective solution for this issue is available now as described below.

New forms of lower cost electricity storage are making the electric power grid more renewable, more reliable,
cleaner and at lower cost.

"This will be like the change from analog to digital, or landlines to cell phones,” says Advanced Microgrid
Systems CEO Susan Kennedy, whose firm’s software helps utilities optimize their power choices every instant
of every day. “The energy industry will never be the same.”

According to the survey data from BloombergNEF (Bloomberg New Energy Finance Limited Company), the
cost of lithium-ion batteries has plunged 85 percent in a decade, and 30 percent in just the past year (2018).
Two strong driving forces for this downward cost trend come from the transitions in the automotive industry
away from dirty internal combustion engine vehicles into clean electric vehicles and in electric power markets
away from dirty fossil fuels into clean and renewable energy sources, such as wind power and solar power.

With lower cost storage batteries, electric utility companies across the U.S. have started attaching containers
full of lithium-ion batteries to the electric power grid—and they’re planning to install far more of them in the
coming years. Electricity has always been the toughest commodity to manage, because unlike water, grain,
fuel or steel, historically electric power has been largely very difficult and expensive to store for later use. But
that is changing fast, and even though the dramatic growth of batteries on the grid will be invisible to most
Americans, it has the potential to transform how we produce and consume power, creating more flexible and
resilient electricity systems with less waste, lower costs and fewer pollution emissions.

Thanks to the dizzying cost declines, utilities are now building new wind and solar farms accompanied by new
battery storage for less than they would pay to build new fossil-fuel electricity generation plants—and in some
cases less than they would pay to run existing fossil-fuel plants. Pairing renewable electric energy sources with
battery storage lets electric power grid operators fill in gaps when the weather isn’t cooperating and dispatch
power in more predictable ways when it’s needed most

Jigar Shah, the founder of the pioneering solar company Sun Edison and now the president of the clean energy
finance firm Generate Capital, believes hundreds of billions of dollars worth of fossil-fueled peaker pollution
plants that often run just a few hundred hours a year might soon be mothballed for good.

Southwest Power Pool in USA now routinely handles 50 percent and even 60 percent of electric power
generation from wind while keeping the lights on without interruption. There was one afternoon last month when
California’s grid was receiving more than two-thirds of its power from solar with no reliability problems at all.

Sample references for such rapid trend of cost reduction in energy storage batteries can be seen
here and

For longer term future, in addition to the rapid reduction in the cost of lithium-ion battery, other new energy
storage technologies may become mature and available that may further lower the cost of energy storage.