High up in the Altamont Pass located at the end of a narrow dirt road, miles from nearby cities, rests a unique clean energy plant that is quietly and efficiently providing power for the Tri-Valley and greater region.
Known as the Scott Haggerty Wind Energy Center, the facility is the only one of its kind in the area. East Bay Community Energy, a non-for-profit public agency that operates the regional community choice energy service, acquired the site in unincorporated Livermore in 2021 and began installing updated infrastructure and programs to make it run more efficiently.
Since then, the site continues to help serve up to 40,000 homes in the region.
"This is one of EBCE's local renewable energy projects we have in the area," EBCE marketing director Dan Lieberman said during a media tour last Friday in honor of Earth Day. "We have a portfolio of projects that we've started developing to serve the customers throughout Alameda County and Tracy that we provide with electricity."
EBCE runs and operates almost a dozen other energy farms, either via solar or wind, however none in the East Bay region are as large or extensive as the 57.5-megawatt facility on Dyer Road that bears the name of former county supervisor Scott Haggerty, who was an instrumental advocate in the founding of the agency.
"This particular facility, the Scott Haggerty Wind Center in Livermore, is our most local utility scale project. It was the first project that was built specifically to serve customers in its own service area," Lieberman added.
At the Livermore location, over 100 turbines produce the electric power needed to produce clean energy for Alameda County. The turbines are monitored 24/7 for faults and delays by the engineers. They can even be monitored remotely from homes.
According to on-site GE engineers, the windmills onsite can stand up to 380 feet tall and have blades as long as 160 feet.
One new program introduced to the site by EBCE is the use of AI-based animal detection system IdentiFlight. With dozens of metal stations and cameras placed throughout the farm, the IdentiFlight program can detect protected animals, such as birds and bats, and shut down nearby turbines to protect wildlife casualties.
Lieberman, a resident of Alameda County himself, expressed gratitude to be able to work on projects such as this one that offer clean energy to local customers.
"It's really rewarding to see this from a concept. We're lucky to have this great wind resource here in the county at the Altamont Pass," Lieberman said. "(Before we acquired it), the site used to have over 500 old turbines on it, and we replaced it with 23 new ones that generate even more electricity than those 500 because these are so efficient. It's been super exciting."
When reflecting on the impact the energy center has had on East Bay residents so far, Lieberman said it extends far beyond power. The plant brought with it new jobs, resources and hope for greener solutions for energy.
"I feel like this is really one of the best outcomes of what EBCE is as an energy aggregator, to be able to build a project like this in our community, bringing those jobs, making energy renewable and carbon free," Lieberman said. "An energy plant here in our county at a utility scale is just fantastic."
"It's one of our largest facilities and it's right here in the county. You can see it driving up the freeway, it's very exciting," he added.
To find out more about EBCE, the Scott Haggerty Wind Energy Center or other East Bay projects, visit ebce.org.