Jewel Valley Wind and Solar Farm

Bottom Line: Enel Green Power North America enlisted Southwest Strategies to help them win approval for testing equipment related to a proposed wind and solar farm in Boulevard — and that’s what we did.

Key Players

  • San Diego County Zoning Administrator
  • San Diego County Planning Commission
  • CleanTECH San Diego
  • Community of Boulevard residents and businesses
  • Regional wind energy developers
  • Local environmental groups

Our Challenge

In 2010, Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA) set out to build a wind and solar generation facility on private land in Boulevard, CA, a southeastern community of San Diego County. While the San Diego County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance to streamline the process, the EGPNA team expected community resistance, and that the project would ultimately be appealed to the San Diego County Planning Commission. Southwest Strategies was brought on board to provide public affairs and community outreach services to calm any community concerns and obtain necessary approvals.

Approvals Needed:

San Diego County Zoning Administrator

San Diego County Planning Commission

Opposition:

Community of Boulevard residents and businesses

Our Solution

Enel Green Power North America Jewel Valley project website.
Enel Green Power North America Jewel Valley project website.

The first step in our process was to establish a clear goal: to secure approvals for testing equipment on the site, including four MET towers, seven Sonic Detection and Ranging (SoDAR) units and one pyranometer. Since the project proprietor is based in Rome, Italy, we began by giving it a name that would connect it to Boulevard’s community: the Jewel Valley Project. Jewel Valley is well-known for popular camping sites in the area. From there, we created materials to tell the project’s story and how it would help California meet its aggressive goals to combat climate change.

Outreach included:

  • Fact sheets
  • Project website
  • Message-driven presentations for stakeholders
  • Presentations to local planning groups and business and community groups
  • Moderated discussion to gain feedback and identify potential supporters
  • Wind Energy Symposium with CleanTECH San Diego and other wind developers, including a final report to regional elected officials
  • Play Energy, an international educational program, in East County San Diego schools
Left: Micheal Picker, Governor Brown's Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy at the time, participates in the Wind Energy Symposium as keynote speaker.
Right: Final report and Play Energy materials.
Left: Micheal Picker, Governor Brown's Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy at the time, participates in the Wind Energy Symposium as keynote speaker. Right: Final report and Play Energy materials.

Results

Southwest Strategies’ outreach program ultimately proved successful. Numerous supporters testified in favor of EGPNA’s application for wind and solar testing equipment, and both the Zoning Administrator and Planning Commission voted to approve it. The MET equipment was installed and began collecting wind and solar data in 2011.

Approval by San Diego County Zoning Administrator

Approval by San Diego County Planning Commission

200 attendees at Wind Energy Symposium

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