Get the Facts
Learn more about the Fountain Wind Project here! Below are answers to some of the most-asked questions about wind energy and the Fountain Wind Project.
The Fountain Wind Project is a proposed 216 MW wind project in northeastern Shasta County. The project will be located on privately owned timberlands near Highway 299, approximately 6 miles west of Burney, and is anticipated to be operational by the end of 2023. ConnectGen is currently considering 72 turbine locations for the project, but the final number of turbine locations will depend on the size of the turbine chosen for the project.
The Project is located in northeastern Shasta County, California approximately 6 miles west of Burney and one mile west of the existing Hatchet Ridge Wind Farm. To download a map of the project area please visit www.fountainwind.com/project-location.
The Fountain Wind Project is currently in the permitting phase of project development. The Project requires various permits or approvals in order to construct and operate the proposed facility, including a Use Permit from Shasta County. In determining whether to issue a Use Permit, the county must perform an environmental analysis pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The project began the CEQA process in early 2019 with the publishing of a Notice of Preparation, followed by a public scoping meeting, and the publication of the Public Scoping Report. Shasta County published the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on August 3rd, 2020, and the public has been asked to submit comments on the DEIR by October 21st, 2020.1 Following receipt of Public Comments, the county will prepare the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and response to comments, which is anticipated to be published in Late 2020. The County public hearings and decision-making process is anticipated to begin in early 2021. Information and updates about Shasta County’s DEIR process can be found on their website at: https://www.co.shasta.ca.us/index/drm/planning/eir/fountain-wind-project/draft-eir.
If the project were to be approved in early 2021, ConnectGen anticipates starting preliminary site work in the second half of 2021, with full project construction commencing in the spring of 2022, and a project completion by the end of 2023.
The project is seeking a Use Permit as required by the Shasta County Code which would authorize the construction, operation, and decommissioning of the Project. Shasta County is the Lead Agency under CEQA and The Shasta County Department of Resource Management, Planning Division is responsible for preparing an EIR for the project.2 The EIR presents the analysis of potential project impacts and identifies mitigation measures to avoid or reduce significant environmental effects. Shasta County will consider the information disclosed through the CEQA process along with other factors in determining whether to issue a Use Permit for the project.
Based on feedback received as part of Shasta County’s Public Scoping process, conducted in early 2019, ConnectGen reduced the number of proposed turbines from the initial 100 under consideration to the 72 that are currently being analyzed in the EIR.
ConnectGen has met with dozens of local stakeholders within Shasta County, including those communities directly adjacent to the project, to provide accurate information and better inform the broader community. Starting in November of 2019, ConnectGen started hosting regular Project office hours in Round Mountain at the Round Mountain Community Center. ConnectGen was able to hold seven meetings prior to the implementation of Covid-19-related meeting restrictions. Since then, ConnectGen has continued to meet with project stakeholders via phone and video conference, including hosting a virtual Local Vendor Faire in July of 2020, a video of which can be found here. Based on stakeholder feedback, ConnectGen donated a total of $12,000 to six separate organizations in Shasta County, including One Safe Place, KKRN Radio, Burney Food Co-Op, Montgomery Creek School, and the Tri-County Community Network. ConnectGen is committed to staying active in the community and is working to establish a community benefit fund for the Round Mountain, Montgomery Creek, and Intermountain area in excess of $1MM. ConnectGen is committed to being an active community member and good neighbor for the remainder of the development and construction processes and throughout the operational life of the project.
The Fountain Wind Project will be a total capital investment of approximately $300 million in Shasta County, which will result in a significant increase in the County’s taxable property base. The project will benefit the County by generating more than $50 million in new tax revenues, while also creating jobs and increasing demand for local businesses.
During construction, the Fountain Wind Project will contribute more than $3.5 million in sales taxes to Shasta County. During operations, the project will provide a steady stream of property tax revenues to the County, averaging $1.67 million per year over the expected 30-year project life, totaling more than $50 million over the life of the project.
During construction, the Fountain Wind Project will support over 200 construction jobs. These construction workers will drive local economic development through increased demand for supply chain businesses, hospitality services, and other local businesses. Once operational, the project will generate up to 12 permanent jobs, which provide well-paying opportunities for young people to remain living and working in Northern California.
No. The Fountain Wind Project will interconnect to the electrical grid through a new substation and interconnection switchyard that will be built directly adjacent to the existing Pit #1 to Cottonwood 230 kilovolt transmission line. There are no new high voltage transmission lines required to interconnect the project.
Yes. As is required by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the project has undergone all the necessary 3rd party interconnection studies to ensure that interconnection to the electrical grid will not result in any adverse impacts. The project has completed all necessary studies and signed a Large Generator Interconnection agreement (LGIA) with PG&E in late 2017.
As the owner of the existing Pit #1 to Cottonwood transmission line, PG&E is the transmission service provider for the project. PG&E is required by CAISO to study the immediate and long-term effects of putting additional generation on the grid from projects that are being developed by independent power producers, like ConnectGen. Once PG&E has completed its interconnection studies and the studies have been verified by the CAISO, PG&E works with independent power producers to sign an LGIA.
The project will be designed and constructed to have an expected minimum useful life of 30 years.
ConnectGen is responsible for the removal of the project at the end of the project’s life. At year 15 of project operations, ConnectGen will put a financial security in place to ensure that the landowner and community will bear no responsibility for removal or restoration of the project. The amount of financial assurance will be determined by a third-party engineer and will be re-estimated and adjusted every five years. This financial assurance will remain in place for the remaining life of the project.
At this stage of development, prior to Shasta County approval, ConnectGen has not yet secured a customer for the Project’s wind generation. ConnectGen is actively engaging with northern California energy buyers including Cities, Municipalities, and Community Choice Aggregators. ConnectGen must secure a customer for the project before it can begin construction.
Yes, the power from the project will flow to the Cottonwood 230 kV substation, located in the south-central part of Shasta County. From the Cottonwood substation, the electricity will have the ability to move around the regional electrical grid. The added generation capacity from the Fountain Wind project will help Shasta County and the region guard against PG&E blackouts like the one experienced in August of 2020.
When the wind blows past a wind turbine, its blades capture the wind’s energy and rotate, turning the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy. Inside the wind turbine, this rotation turns an internal shaft connected to a gearbox, which then spins a generator that produces electricity. The wind turbine will rotate to face the strongest wind and will angle its blades to best capture the wind energy.3
ConnectGen is considering a number of potential turbine models for the Fountain Wind Project and will ultimately select the best technology that is suitable for the project area. At this point in the project’s development, it is too soon to know which specific turbine model will be used; however, ConnectGen is working with top tier turbine manufacturers (Vestas, GE, Nordex Acciona, and Siemens Gamesa) to determine which options would be appropriate for the project site. At the smaller end, ConnectGen is considering a turbine with a 3-megawatt (MW) nameplate capacity and a total height of 500 ft. At the upper end, ConnectGen is considering a turbine with a 6 MW nameplate capacity and a total height of 679 ft. ConnectGen is also considering a number of turbine models that fall within this range.
The wind industry is trending towards larger, more efficient turbines, which is a positive trend because it means that wind projects require fewer turbines and less ground disturbance to produce more energy.
Construction and operation activities are not anticipated to affect local water supplies. The Project will employ a host of best management practices such as material handling procedures, pre-construction inspection, and environmental monitoring that directly and indirectly protect aquatic resources. Additionally, a Water Quality Assessment was performed to identify available water supplies for the Project. Section 3.12 of the draft EIR provides more detailed information on potential impacts to local hydrology and water quality as well as specific mitigation measures that would further reduce impacts. The draft EIR concludes that all potential impacts related to Hydrology and Water Quality would be either less than significant, or less than significant with mitigation.9
The final number of turbines will depend on the turbine model that ConnectGen selects for the project, which has not yet been determined. If ConnectGen uses a smaller turbine model, the project could include up to 72 turbines. Conversely, if ConnectGen uses a larger turbine model, the project could include as few as 35 turbines.
No. The Fountain Wind Project is the only wind project that ConnectGen is considering in Shasta County and there are no additional phases planned.
- The U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab collected data from more than 50,000 home sales among 27 counties in nine states. These homes were within 10 miles of 67 different wind facilities, and 1,198 sales were within one mile of a wind turbine. The data span the periods well before announcement of the wind facilities to well after their construction. The research found no statistical evidence that home values near turbines were affected in the post-construction or post-announcement/preconstruction periods.33
- The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center studied the relationship between wind turbines and residential property values in Massachusetts to assess whether home values were affected by proximity to wind turbines. An analysis of more than 122,000 Massachusetts home sales between 1998 and 2012 found no statistically significant evidence that proximity to a wind turbine affects home values.34
- Another study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research argues that wind turbines do not negatively affect property values, and, in some cases, may increase home prices.35
- Numerous other property value studies based on statistical analysis of real estate transactions have found that wind facilities have no consistent significant impact on property values (Sterzinger et al. 2003; Hoen et al. 2009; Hinman 2010; Carter 2011).
Today’s wind turbines take advantage of over 30 years of design, engineering, manufacturing and operating experience to minimize sound from operations. Further, the Fountain Wind Project will be designed to comply with local and state laws to limit sound impacts. ConnectGen has designed the Fountain Wind Project within Shasta County’s regulations, which will minimize additional sound impacts on nearby residences.
Shasta County’s noise regulations mandate that any noise associated with the project shall not exceed 55 dBA during daytime hours (7 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and 50 dBA during nighttime hours (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.) as measured at the nearest existing noise sensitive receptors, as is outlined in section 3-13 of the Draft EIR.36 For comparison, a 55 dBA sound level is equivalent to a household refrigerator.37
SCT was formed to purchase and manage approximately 170,000 acres of private forestland in Shasta, Trinity, and Siskiyou Counties in early 2018. SCT’s management objectives seek to deliver long-term sustainable forestry outcomes, including the production of certified timber for local processing markets and the generation of carbon credits that contribute to California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets through natural climate solutions. The SCT estate is managed by LandVest Inc. from its Shasta and Redding offices.
ConnectGen has identified Shasta County for wind energy development because of its proximity to the existing transmission system that has sufficient capacity, a strong wind resource, and favorable site suitability with limited design constraints.
ConnectGen is a renewable energy company comprised of seasoned energy industry professionals focused on developing wind, solar, and energy storage projects across the United States.
Launched in 2018 by private equity firm Quantum Energy Partners, a leading provider of private equity capital to the global energy industry, ConnectGen draws from its extensive experience developing renewable energy and infrastructure projects across the United States. In total, the ConnectGen team has managed the development, financing, construction, and operation of thousands of megawatts (MW) of wind and solar energy across the United States.
The ConnectGen team brings decades of experience from industry-leading companies, including EDP Renewables, E.ON, Invenergy, Clean Line Energy Partners, First Wind, NextEra, RES and Calpine. Collectively over their careers, the ConnectGen team has successfully developed, commercialized, financed, constructed and operated more than 11 gigawatts of renewable energy projects across the U.S. and Canada. See below for a summary of the team’s track record of project execution.
|Project Technology||Number of Projects||Aggregate Capacity (MW)|
|Standalone Battery Storage||2||20 MW|
In addition to the projects listed above, ConnectGen, has partnered with EDP Renewables on a 50/50 joint venture to own and operate a 278 MW solar portfolio consisting of three solar projects located in Arizona, California, and Nevada, all of which became operational at the end of 2019.