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Local News

Transformer won't be replaced; solar farm planned for north county

A blue lake viewed from above, surrounded by mountains and greenery/
Lake Pillsbury, viewed from above in May 2022.

PG&E’s announcement that it will not replace the transformer, estimated to be a $5-10 million repair, follows last week’s news that the company will also not close the spillway gates on top of Scott Dam for the foreseeable future, due to seismic concerns. That decision will lower the levels of Lake Pillsbury by about 20,000 feet, greatly reducing the flow of Eel River water into the East Branch of the Russian River.

PG&E will not replace the transformer at the Potter Valley powerhouse, according to a March 23 filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This means the Potter Valley Hydropower Project will not generate electricity while PG&E is in the process of surrendering the project. The project has not generated power since last summer, when the transformer failed.

And members of the Laytonville Municipal Advisory Council had the opportunity to review a different kind of alternative energy project at this week’s meeting. A San Francisco-based company is proposing to build a 29-acre solar farm, just three miles south of Laytonville. The application has been submitted to the Planning and Building Department, and will probably come before the Planning Commission this summer.

The March 23 meeting of the Planning Commission was canceled due to lack of a quorum and concerns about noticing requirements. But an item about a proposed cannabis prohibition zone in Redwood Valley drew a barrage of letters and an accusation of racism. That item has not been rescheduled yet, but is likely to be heard next month….

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.