October 13, 2020
We Need Your Help to Save North Livermore Valley
Does anyone doubt that if Alameda County placed a measure on the ballot allowing for the construction of industrial solar power plants on agricultural land in North Livermore the voters would decisively reject the measure?

We have no such doubt. But the County is not providing the public a vote on this decision.

Instead, the fate of North Livermore rests in the hands of just eight persons. The three appointed members of the East County Board of Zoning Adjustments will initially examine the projects. These individuals are Scott Beyer, Frank J. Imhof and Derek Eddy.

The first project, called the Sunwalker or Livermore Community Solar Farm, will be reviewed by the Board of Zoning Adjustments on October 22, 2020. Here is a link to the agenda which contains information on public can participate by Zoom at the meeting.

Any decision made by the Board of Zoning Adjustments can be appealed to the five elected members of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

Save North Livermore Valley has called on Alameda County officials to halt the review of the solar power plants proposed for North Livermore Valley until the County develops a comprehensive solar policy. We are joined by Livermore Mayor John Marchand, the Tri-Valley Conservancy, Friends of Open Space and Vineyards, Friends of Livermore and the Alameda County Agricultural Commission.

We now need members of the public to make the same request. If we act together, we can save our valley. Please click "Email County Officials" to send a message to County officials and staff.
Here is suggested text you can cut and paste into your email message:

I request that Alameda County develop a thorough and comprehensive policy for large-scale solar facilities in its rural areas and that this work be completed before the County reviews the two industrial solar plants proposed for North Livermore Valley. While it is important to address climate change through the development of more solar power, we must proceed in a thoughtful, environmentally sound manner.

Until Alameda County establishes clear rules, developed with public input, for the appropriate siting, scale and operation of solar power plants, if any, on agricultural land, all pending projects should be put on hold. The scenic beauty, natural habitat and open space of North Livermore Valley belong to all of us and must be preserved for future generations.

Please add text to the subject line, such as Save North Livermore Valley, and your name and city of residence to the end of the message.

We also post this information and an email link to County officials on the Take Action page on our website.
Not solar panels in a field -
The Aramis project is a massive industrial power plant
Here is the cover page to the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Aramis Solar Energy Generation and Storage facility. Intersect Power has marketed the project as an agricultural zone with beehives and sheep grazing among widely spread out solar panels.

This is not the reality of the facility: it will be an industrial power plant.
The Aramis project is unprecedented. To our knowledge, no utility-scale solar power plant of its magnitude - over 320,000 solar arrays spread across 425 acres of agricultural land on a total project area of nearly 750 areas - exists in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This image, taken from an Intersect Power video, begins to provide a more accurate visualization of the Aramis site. Additional solar arrays will be constructed to the north and south.

Look closely at the image. The solar arrays are densely packed together. No fields exist for sheep to graze among the solar panels. That would, of course, run counter to Intersect Power's profit incentive to maximize the amount of electricity generated.

Furthermore, Intersect Power's visualization omits significant details that we have added in red text: miles of security fences and internal access roads, overhead electrical transmission lines and towers, and lithium-ion battery stations.

The overhead electrical transmission lines and towers will be positioned in multiple locations. The average height of the towers will be 5 stories, with some reaching 10 stories. Aside from the permanent visual blight created by the overhead transmission lines, high winds are common in the area and could bring down transmission lines, sparking fires. 
In addition, the Aramis project calls for the installation of scores of trailer-truck size lithium-ion battery stations. This will create a new wildfire risk in the valley. Explosions and fires have occurred at battery stations worldwide, including one last year in Arizona that sent nine first responders to the hospital.
The above facts on the Aramis project can be found in the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project. The report can be accessed on the County Planning Department’s webpage for current development project applications. The report is listed under Environmental Impact Reports as Aramis Solar Energy Generation and Storage Project, PLN 2018-00117.

The public may submit written comments (which can include objections to the analysis and conclusions) concerning the report no later than November 2, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Please send your comments via email to Andrew Young at andrew.young@acgov.org with “Aramis Solar Energy Generation and Storage Project EIR” in the subject line.
County Committee To Discuss Solar Issues Tomorrow
On Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at 3 p.m., the Alameda County Agricultural Advisory Committee will discuss whether to oppose solar power plants on agricultural land in North Livermore Valley and review recommendations on a solar policy for rural areas of the County.
This is a public meeting via Zoom. You will have the opportunity to comment prior to the Committee making any decisions.

Please attend the meeting via Zoom and speak in favor of saving our valley.

Click here to read the agenda for the meeting.
Community Voices In Support of Saving Our Valley
Leading Community Environmental Groups Call For a Moratorium on New Industrial Solar Power Plants Pending Completion of a Comprehensive Solar Policy

On October 5, 2020, Friends of Livermore and Friends of Open Space & Vineyards joined Save North Livermore Valley to issue a statement calling on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to place a moratorium on the review of new solar power plants on agricultural land until the County completes a comprehensive study and mapping project for solar facilities on agricultural land. The groups stated:

"Countless persons and organizations spanning decades have fought to preserve the agricultural land, open space, watershed and wildlife habitats, and scenic beauty of North Livermore Valley. Their work and inspiring success is now at risk from two proposed industrial solar power plants. 

The plants would dramatically and permanently alter a massive section of North Livermore Valley from open ranch and farmland into an industrial use – the commercial generation of electricity for sale to California’s energy grid. The alteration would gravely undermine Measure D.

Furthermore, if approved, the two projects would create the precedent that solar power plants qualify as appropriate use of agricultural land in all Alameda County. Over the next 10-15 years, the scarce remaining agricultural land in Alameda County could be lost forever."
"Don't be misled by Intersect Power.

I am getting tired of the misleading, inaccurate, fear-based ads that Intersect Power is doing for their Aramis utility scale power plant in rural North Livermore. Apparently, by allowing Aramis to build this 100-megawatt plant (with 320,000 solar panels), we all will be helping climate change, reducing our local energy bill and preventing rolling blackouts caused by this summer's fires. What Aramis will really do is create profit for shareholders of Intersect Power, help PG&E and provide tax dollars to Alameda County.

. . .Intersect Power further says that roof top solar is not the solution, and it does not have economies of scale. What that means, of course, is that it is harder for a solar power company to make as much money with rooftop solar as with a mega-utility scale operation.
The truth is that, according to a study done by The Clean Coalition in 2017, there is enough potential in the cities, within the urban growth boundaries in Alameda County, to create a distributed power network that has the potential to generate 650 megawatts of power from large parking lots, commercial rooftops and other, already developed, urban areas. . . .

Alameda County should - instead of attempting to push through this utility scale power plant that fell in their lap - spend time, energy and resources developing a solar policy for the county and start the work on the real solution of creating a significant distributed solar network in the county.

This is something that would truly help Alameda County residents to prevent blackouts and lower their power bills, and it would do the most to address climate change. Alameda County should not be trying to figure out how to cover some of the last remaining rural and scenic agricultural areas in the county with a ‘sea of glass.’"

"We must stop burning fossil fuels. But how much land are we going to destroy to do it? Are we going to adequately deliberate about land-use with habitat, soil, food production and displaced energy exigencies?"

"Livermore is a great place to live because of its heritage - ranching, farming, vineyards, and open space."

"There is little doubt that we need more renewable energy sources, including solar power options. However, without a comprehensive policy, solar-power facilities will be evaluated on an ad-hoc basis with no assurance that what is being approved is really the best use for the land or Livermore as a whole.

Firm guidelines and standards must be established to protect valuable agriculture land. If it is determined, under a rigorous set of solar-power polices, that North Livermore is best suited for solar power, then so be it. But what is being planned now puts the cart before the horse.

Thus, I would urge Alameda County to develop a comprehensive set of policies on the appropriate siting, scale and operations of utility-size solar-power facilities in rural areas. If we rush to convert the agricultural land of North Livermore into solar-power plants without first conducting a full evaluation based upon written standards, we may well be creating a situation that we will live to regret.

Livermore Independent Editorial
“Developing massive regions with a ‘sea of glass,’ as many have called the proposal, is a short-sighted response to meeting California’s energy goals. Let’s continue exploring alternatives for implementing solar in the Tri-Valley, because it doesn’t make sense to destroy the environment to protect it.” 

— Livermore Independent, August 5, 2020 
The Beauty of Our Valley
Just a short drive or bike ride from the City of Livermore and north of Highway 580, the North Livermore Valley has been zoned for agricultural and rural residential uses since the 1950s.

For nearly the same period Alameda County has recognized North Livermore Avenue in its General Plan as a scenic corridor and sought to preserve the area’s outstanding scenic quality. 

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 175 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.