Alert: Critical Meeting on Future of North Livermore Valley Set for Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Alameda County officials have set for Thanksgiving week the review of the environmental impact report for the massive Aramis industrial solar power plant and lithium-ion battery station complex proposed for North Livermore Valley. A special meeting of the East County Board of Zoning Adjustments will occur on November 24, 2020, at 1:30 p.m., to review the project and decide whether or not to approve it.

The Aramis project is a monstrosity. It will destroy hundreds of acres of productive, environmentally important agricultural land and significantly and forever scar the scenic beauty of North Livermore Valley. Even a senior Alameda County planner concluded that the Aramis project does ‘not pass the laugh test’ for compliance with the Alameda County Zoning Code, Measure D and applicable environmental policies.

Again, the meeting of the Board of Zoning Adjustments will occur on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, at 1;30 p.m. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom at the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92158285462 The public will be given the opportunity to comment on the Aramis project. Please visit our Take Action Page for proposed talking points and how to contact the Board of Zoning Adjustments in advance of the meeting if you are unable to attend.

 

North Livermore Valley is an agricultural community with stunning views in all directions of pasturelands, rolling hills and distant mountains. The community is under threat from two proposed massive industrial solar plants.

 

The families living in the valley are ranchers and farmers, some living on land that has been owned by their families for generations. Under voter-approved Measure D, the dwindling agricultural lands, open space, watersheds and wildlife habitats in east Alameda County, including North Livermore Valley, are to be preserved.

Dick Schneider, co-author of Measure D, has stated that if Alameda County permits the construction of the two proposed solar power plants in North Livermore Valley, more energy companies will move into the valley.  “Pretty soon, that area is not going to have agricultural at all,” Schneider told the Livermore Independent, “It’s just going to have large scale power plants, and the character [of the valley] is going to change.”

 

“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.”  — “Utility-Scale Solar Isn’t Answer for North Livermore Valley,” Livermore Independent, August 5, 2020 

 

North Livermore Valley is a productive agricultural district. This photo is from the June 2020 harvest of oat hay in the valley.
North Livermore Valley is a productive agricultural district. This photo taken in June 2020 shows the harvesting of oat hay grown in the valley. Oat hay is used to feed cattle and horses.

North Livermore Valley is one of the few unspoiled scenic corridors and agricultural areas remaining in Alameda County.

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. 

This pristine open space and agricultural community is under threat. Two industrial solar power plants have been proposed by energy companies organized in Delaware for the northern section of the valley near Cayetano Creek on both sides of North Livermore Avenue and adjacent to Manning and May School Roads.  

The power plants would dramatically and permanently alter the nature of the valley from open farmland to large-scale solar energy  production.

 

The location of the two industrial solar plants is shown in the above photograph taken from the northern end of the valley looking to the south. The larger solar plant, shown in red, is proposed by Intersect Power company and named the Aramis Solar Energy Generation and Storage Project. The other plant, proposed by Sunwalker Energy company, is shown in orange. The road in the foreground is Manning Road.

The combined project area of the power plants is approximately 820 acres, a size greater than Livermore Airport or the campus at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. More than fourteen San Francisco Premium Outlets shopping complexes in Livermore would fit within the area of the planned industrial solar plants.

Nearly 350,000 eight feet high solar arrays will be spread across the landscape. In particular, the Aramis project includes plans for overhead electricity transmission lines in multiple locations, some 10 stories tall. High gusts of wind 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 to valley that never previously existed. Explosions and fires have occurred at battery stations worldwide, including one last year in Arizona that sent nine first responders to the hospital. 

The impact of the two industrial solar plants would not be limited to one massive section of the valley. The scenic beauty and open space of the entire North Livermore Valley is at risk. 

If approved, the two projects would create the precedent that industrial solar power plants qualify as appropriate uses of land zoned for agricultural and rural residential uses throughout Alameda County.

Solar energy operators are targeting the North Livermore Valley for additional projects near the two proposed industrial solar plants.

Within a decade, the North Livermore Valley as it has existed for centuries could be lost forever. Utility companies and other major corporations could sweep in, purchase ranches and farms and convert the valley into an endless, barren expanse of industrial solar power plants.

Click here to read the full set of reasons why commercial electrical power generation should not be permitted in the North Livermore Valley.

Together We Can Save Our Valley

Families in the North Livermore Valley have joined together to create this website. We are dedicated to Land Stewardship, the use of land and natural resources in a responsible, sustainable manner.

We are mindful of the pressing need to address climate change. We support solar power and other forms of renewable energy. Construction of two gigantic industrial solar plants in North Livermore, however, would cause permanent, unnecessary and destructive change. 

The scenic beauty, natural habitat and open space of the North Livermore Valley belong to all of us and must not be destroyed by for-profit corporations.

We want to ensure your voice is heard when county officials review the industrial solar plants.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US.

Providing your contact information will allow us to keep you informed of the status of the projects and when they come up for review.

Free, Save Our Valley Signs

We greatly appreciate the support we have received from residents of Livermore, Dublin and Pleasanton who want North Livermore’s agricultural land, open space and natural habitat preserved for future generations. If you would like to show your support, and help create public awareness of our effort, we are happy to deliver to you a free “Save our Valley” sign. Please request one at our Contact Us page

Latest News & Updates

We have created a news and updates page. Please visit the page to read the latest news on our effort to save North Livermore Valley from conversion into a zone for the commercial generation of electrical power.

Solar Power Plants Should Not Be Constructed in North Livermore Valley

Learn why leading local environmental groups including Friends of Livermore and Friends of Open Space & Vineyards are opposed to the Sunwalker and Aramis industrial solar power plants in North Livermore Valley.