March 1, 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 before the Supervisors vote. Please speak at the hearing, and use the link at the bottom of this message to email the Supervisors today.

We need to expand renewable energy to address climate change, but in a thoughtful manner that safeguards the open space and agricultural land of Alameda County. We should never destroy the environment in order to save it.

Top 10 Misleading Statements by Intersect Power Concerning the Aramis Project
Over the past year, Intersect Power executives and spokesperson have made repeated misleading statements about the Aramis project to public officials, environmental leaders, reporters and the general public.

Here is our list of the Top 10 misleading statements by Intersect on the Aramis Project. A .pdf version of the misleading statements, with citations and references for the quotations, can be found on the Save North Livermore Valley website here.
1. Claim:  The Aramis Project site has “severely impacted agricultural soils with limited to no potential to be productive . . . with only a history of occasional cattle grazing."
Reality: The land at the Aramis Project site is actively used for agricultural purposes; the soil is not impaired. 

  • North Livermore Valley has been responsibly farmed and ranched for over a century. The soil is not degraded as is the case in other areas of California.

  • Cattle graze year round on the grasslands located on Crosby Family Trust property (the largest parcel in the Aramis project). The land north of Manning Road is used for the growing of oats and hay which is harvested, compacted into bales and sold as feed for horses and cattle. These uses will cease if the Aramis project is approved.

  • The Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Aramis Project states that the site has "been functioning for agricultural use for nearly a century." The EIR notes cattle were "actively grazing the project site during many of the surveys." In another survey, according to the EIR, "the cropland in the northern parcel was harvested, and hay bales were stacked on the project site."

  • As recently as 2018, strawberries were grown on the Stanley Ranch and sold at a stand on North Livermore Avenue. The Stanley Ranch is immediately adjacent to the Crosby Family Trust property.
Strawberries grown and sold in North Livermore Valley (2018)
Cattle grazing on Crosby property (Jan. 2021)         
The Aramis project site looking to south. In left foreground are fields north of Manning Road used for growing oat hay. Eighty acres will be used for the Aramis project. The Crosby Family Trust property is to the south of Manning Road and west of North Livermore Avenue extending to the east past Cayetano Creek. The dark field in the lower right of the photo is not part of the Aramis project site. The field was recently plowed for the planting of oat hay.

  • The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture rates the soil quality of the land north of Manning Road (providing 80 acres to the Aramis Project) as farmland of statewide importance. The NRCS rates the soil quality of land south of Manning Road (the Crosby Family Trust property providing 269 acres to the project) as prime farmland if irrigated.

  • While the California Department of Conservation rates the land as "grazing land," this is the designation given to the vast majority of agricultural land in Alameda County including all of North Livermore Valley. Intersect has sought to create the false impression that grazing land is unproductive agricultural land. To the contrary, grazing land can support the growing of oats, hay and other dryland grain crops to feed animals as well as obviously provide land for cattle, horses and other animals to graze.
2. Claim:  “The project will actually contribute to the agricultural character of the valley as sheep and poultry will graze on the project site."

Realty: The overwhelming and predominant use of the land will be for industrial, not agricultural, purposes.  

  • For a minimum of 50 years, the land will be transformed into a utility scale solar facility for the commercial generation and storage of electricity if the Aramis Project is approved. The project site’s agricultural character will be lost for decades, if not permanently

  • The Final EIR states that construction will require the use of large equipment throughout the site including bulldozers, graders, rollers, compactors, loaders, backhoes, trenchers, cranes, water trucks and pile drivers. Nearly the entire project site will be adversely impacted during the construction phase.

  • Upon completion of construction, the land will be covered with over 270,000, tightly spaced solar panels, a 100 MW, industrial battery energy storage station spread across five acres, water tanks, operations building, power substation, overhead electrical transmission lines spanning Cayetano Creek and Manning Road, and the laying of miles of internal access roads, all surrounded by security fencing.  
Trenches excavated for the laying of cables at a solar plant under construction.
Battery storage station in Mira Loma, CA.
During construction, thousands of metal poles for the mounting of solar panels are driven into the ground.
Battery energy storage station under construction in Moss Landing, CA.
3. Claim:  The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) found only “very low impacts” and the project provides “protection of North Livermore viewshed with extensive landscaping to maintain expansive vistas of distant hills”

Reality: No method exists to hide or obscure the visual assault on the valley from the Aramis Project.

  • The Final EIR found the Aramis Project will have “a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista.” Furthermore, even with the proposed landscaping plan as a mitigation measure, the EIR found the impact on scenic resources remains “significant and unavoidable.”

  • In August 2020, Senior Alameda County Planner Bruce Jensen said, “There is no way to hide this enormous project or protect the scenic quality of the area. It is a big, in-your-face project, and denial of that quality is disingenuous. In fact, the mitigation itself introduces new significant impacts that cannot be mitigated.” [The Aramis Project has not materially changed in size since August.]
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.
4. Claim:  “A new dedicated public hiking trail along Cayetano Creek” will be established.

Reality: There will be no dedicated hiking trail.
  • The Final EIR states:  “The construction of a public hiking trail along portions of Cayetano Creek and its tributaries is not proposed as part of this project."

  • Nor was this project feature mandated in the Conditional Use Permit for the project. If a trail were built, the vista would be blocked by the project’s landscaping and security fencing. Further, the trail would end in a dead ends at the southern and northern portions of the project. 
5. Claim:  “95%” of the 350-acre Aramis Project site will be “open green space.”

Reality: This absurd claim would mean that only 17.5 acres of the 350-acre Aramis Project site would be developed

  • The lithium-ion battery station complex proposed for project alone will cover 5 acres. Another 1-acre area is dedicated to an Operations and Maintenance building and project substation which will contain circuit breakers, switchers and other electrical equipment to connect the project to the nearby PG&E station. 

  • The remaining project area will be blanketed by a solar photovoltaic system consisting of over 270,000 solar collectors, inverters and underground and above-ground electrical wiring, plus miles of internal access roads and security fencing. 
Intersect 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 battery energy storage complex.
6. Claim: The project site was selected because of “lack of habitat for protected species” and is “largely inhospitable to wildlife” yet the Aramis Project will restore native habitat and enhance wildlife.

Reality: Every public agency independent of Alameda County and multiple environmental organizations that examined the Aramis Project EIR found it deficient and that Aramis plant will likely harm or kill multiple threatened species.
  • The project site falls within a Priority Conservation Area and the Conservation Lands Network, contains multiple hotspots for threatened species, is a very valuable habitat and provides regional connectivity for threatened and endangered species per the Nature Conservancy's Greenprint Report for the area.

  • In particular, as explained by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, cattle grazing on the type of land present at the Crosby Family Trust property “is a highly compatible land use” and enhances the habitat for the threatened California tiger salamander. This species is present on the site.
7. Claim: North Livermore Valley is ideal location for utility scale solar plants.

Reality:  While it may serve Intersect Power's financial interests, North Livermore Valley is a terrible location for an industrial solar plant. For 50 years Alameda County's General Plan has recognized the area as a scenic corridor and sought to preserve its outstanding natural beauty and habitat.

Moreover, Alameda County has not undertaken a solar mapping project to identify sites, if any, in rural areas suitable for utility scale solar plants that would pose the least impact to wildlife habitat, scenic resources, open space and agricultural land.
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.
8. Claim: “Measure D was intended to protect community open space like parklands, not to force private property into serving as community open space.”

Reality:  Approved by the voters in 2000, Measure D protects the dwindling agricultural lands, open space, watersheds and wildlife habitats in East Alameda County from excessive development. Measure D recognizes that preserving agriculture “is key to preserving open lands.” 

  • The restrictions under Measure D that apply to privately owned farms and ranches in the East Alameda County ensure that these properties also serve as open space and habitat for threatened species.
9. Claim: Project site cannot be reduced any further or project will not be economically viable.

Reality:  Intersect Power representatives have repeatedly contradicted themselves as to whether the Aramis Project could be reduced in size and remain economically viable.

No land could be lost was made when the project’s original area was 410 acres, Intersect Power claimed. When the Planning Department proposed a reduction by 45 acres in April 2020, Marissa Mitchell of Intersect Power responded, “it’s very likely this project will not be built if we lose 45 acres.”

Ultimately, in the Fall, Intersect Power agreed to a reduction of the project area by 22 acres to 388 acres in order to eliminate the northern most portion of the project designated as Resource Management.

In a September 22, 2020, email message to Sierra Club officials, Mitchell asserted that any further reduction in the project area – specifically to eliminate an additional 21 acres of environmentally sensitive Water Management designated land as has been proposed by County planner as project alternative - would not be “economically feasible, and we would not be able to bring such a constrained project online.”

In approving the project in November 2020, the Board of Zoning Adjustments, however, imposed greater setback requirements than originally proposed, resulting in a reduction of the project area by a further 8 acres. On December 4, 2020, Intersect Power appealed the decision to the Board of Supervisors stating that if the additional setbacks remained “the project cannot meet its full potential.”

On January 7, 2021, counsel for the Richard Leland Stanley and Mary Stanley, owners of the southern portion of the Aramis Project, informed Intersect Power that lease negotiations were terminated. This resulted in a loss of 38 acres from the project.

Nevertheless, and in contradiction to her earlier statements on the impact of the loss of any further land, Mitchell stated that the loss of the 38 acres from the Stanley property would not “jeopardize [the project] in any way,” adding “the project is absolutely still viable without [the Stanley property].”
10. Claim:  “Intersect Power is a small Bay Area business,” according to CEO Sheldon Kimber.

Reality:  “The Intersect Power team has developed 3.7 GWDC of solar assets with a portfolio value of more than $8 billion,” according to Intersect CEO Sheldon Kimber, in press release announcing that Intersect had secured $127 million in equity funding from two large companies.
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.
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.