March 2, 2021
Feb. 27, 2021, photo taken from Manning Road of northern portion of proposed Aramis Project site.
Calendar Alert: Thursday, 3/4/21, 9 a.m. Hearing
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors will review the Aramis project at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 4, 2021. The hearing will be conducted online at this link: 

The public will be allowed to make comments on the project. Please speak at the hearing, and use the link at the bottom of this message to email the Supervisors today.

The Aramis project would be the largest utility scale solar facility ever constructed in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area. It would destroy over 350 acres of agricultural land and open space that provides a habitat for numerous threatened species.

We need to expand renewable energy to address climate change, but in a thoughtful manner. We should never destroy the environment in order to save it.

“It's déjà vu all over again"
In the immortal word of Yogi Berra, "It's déjà vu all over again" in Alameda County.

Nine years ago, Alameda County planners took to the Board of Supervisors a proposal (called Cool Earth) to build a small scale solar plant in far Eastern Alameda County. The project was sited near an existing utility corridor and on land that had not been used for agriculture since the mid 1990's. At the time the county lacked any rules or guidelines for where solar plants could be located. [The Cool Earth project was never built.]

At the meeting, Supervisor Keith Carson questioned staff on what impact, if any, approval of the project would have on the policies and procedures concerning solar projects the county was developing. Supervisor Carson stated it was important to establish a solar policy for future solar plant applicants.

In 2011, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to develop a solar policy for the siting of solar power plants in rural areas of the county.

Chris Bezar, head of the Alameda County Community Development Agency, agreed with Supervisor Carson on the need to conduct “a comprehensive policy review” on solar projects, but still requested approval of the Cool Earth project. Bezar stated the Cool Earth project was too far into the planning process.

Bazar added that the Cool Earth project's impact on open space, agricultural land and biological resources was insignificant. Cool Earth "was a very innocuous project that fits in the with the community input we have received so far," Bezar stated. He also emphasized that "that new rules we establish [for solar projects] will be applied to . . . any future folks coming down the line."
Also important, at the hearing the concern was expressed concern that approval of the project could create the precedent permitting utility scale solar facilities on all agricultural land in the county.

Supervisor Nate Miley questioned staff, asking, "This has no precedential value whatsoever unequivocally, right?" Staff responded "yes."
Fast forward to 2021, County counsel now asserts that approval of the Cool Earth project is precedent allowing for the conversion of all agricultural land in Eastern Alameda County into industrial solar power plants.

Furthermore, Alameda County still lacks a solar policy. But because the Aramis project has been in "the pipeline," staff assert that it should be reviewed now without waiting for a solar policy (which the County restarted working on at the end of 2020 after public pressure from Save North Livermore Valley and other groups).

If you never finish the pipeline every new project will always be in the pipeline.

The County has had a decade to complete a solar policy. Meanwhile Contra Costa started work on creating a solar policy in 2018 and finished the project in early 2020 by amending its General Plan and adopting a solar ordinance allowing solar facilities in limited, carefully defined rural areas.

Every public agency independent of Alameda County that has examined the Aramis project in depth has concluded that the Environmental Impact Report for the project is deficient and that the construction and operation of the Aramis industrial solar plant will likely injure or kill threatened species, including owls, foxes, frogs and salamanders. Farmers, ranchers and environmentalists in the Livermore Valley are opposed to the Aramis projects.

It is never too late to do the right thing.

Save North Livermore Valley has repeatedly requested that the Board of Supervisors direct the Planning Department to complete a comprehensive solar policy for agricultural districts and a General Plan amendment prior to reviewing any utility-scale solar projects on agricultural land.

Please help us save the open space, wildlife habitat, agricultural land and scenic beauty of North Livermore Valley by contacting the Supervisors today. Use the link below.
Intersect Power, the company behind the Aramis Project, has not provided the Board of Supervisors or the public a complete and accurate visualization of the entire Aramis Project. The above photo is our attempt to show the massive size of the Aramis Project. It is missing several key components including the 5 acre, lithium-ion battery energy storage complex.
Take Action To Save Our Valley
This Thursday, March 4, 2021, at 9 a.m., the Board of Supervisors will review the Aramis Project. Please click the green button above to contact the Alameda County Supervisors and staff today. Please add a subject line, such as Reject the Aramis Solar Power Plant, and your name and city of residence to the end of your message.

Here is suggested text you can cut and paste into your email message:


Dear Board of Supervisors and County Officials:

I respectfully request that you reject the Aramis solar project for the following reasons:

1) The Aramis project will destroy North Livermore Valley’s scenic beauty. No method exists to hide or obscure the visual assault on the valley from the Aramis project’s 270,000+ eight-foot tall solar panels, new electrical substation, scores of lithium-ion battery stations, and overhead electrical transmission lines, some on towers reaching ten stories high.
These facts are not in dispute. The Final Environmental Impact Report found that the Aramis project will have “a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista.” Even with landscaping, the report concluded that the adverse aesthetic impact remains “significant and unavoidable.”
2) The Aramis project will obliterate hundreds of acres of habitat for numerous threatened species including the California tiger salamander, California red-legged frog and Western burrowing owl. The agricultural land also serves as a wildlife corridor among nature preserves in and surrounding North Livermore Valley that are critical to maintaining the biodiversity of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. 
3) The Aramis project violates Measure D. Under voter-approved Measure D, the agricultural lands of Alameda County, including North Livermore, are to be preserved, enhanced and protected from “excessive, badly located and harmful development.” Commercial electricity power generation and the industrial storage of electrical energy are not agricultural uses of the land. 
4) Other, environmentally superior, ways exist to generate greater renewable energy. Alameda County can generate much greater renewable energy than the Aramis project while preserving its agricultural land by promoting the installation of solar panels on rooftops of home and businesses, over parking lots and next to freeways. 
5) Alameda County should complete a comprehensive solar policy first. The county should do what Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties have already done: determine which areas of the county are appropriate for industrial solar facilities and only allow solar plants in those areas that pose the least conflict with open space, agricultural land, natural habitat and scenic resources. 

However, even without such a policy in place, it is clear that North Livermore Valley is not the location where the county should first allow the construction of utility scale solar facilities.
In conclusion, North Livermore Valley is designated as an agricultural district and should remain one.
The Beauty of Our Valley
North Livermore Valley combines a rare protected scenic corridor with agricultural land and numerous threatened species. This short video was taken at the proposed Aramis project site in Feb. 2021. The fields and views shown in the video will no longer exist if the project is approved.
Solar Power for Alameda County generated from solar facility on degraded land in Kern County
East Bay Community Energy is receiving 112 megawatts of electricity from the Rosamond Central solar project (in photo) located in Kern County. Many solar plants in Kern County have been constructed on previously disturbed or degraded land.
About Save North Livermore Valley

We started as a group of farm and ranch families and other members of the North Livermore Valley Rural Community. We have been joined by over 400 concerned residents in the City of Livermore and Tri-Valley area united for the purpose of preserving the open space, agricultural land and wildlife habitat of North Livermore Valley for future generations.