300 Line up for Job Fair

Gorman and Carrizo Plains May Be Next Targets for Renewable Energy Farms

By Patric Hedlund and Gary Meyer

An estimated 300 people showed up at a park in Antelope Valley’s Quartz Hill on Saturday, July 30 to apply for construction jobs to build the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One (AVSR One). First Solar, Inc. plans to begin construction there this month. About $680 million in federal loan guarantees, plus government rebates, are incentives to avoid delays.

A community relations coordinator for AVSR One informed The Mountain Enterprise that building is about to commence. Alejandro ‘Alex’ Martin wrote: “…we have received our final discretionary permits which allow us to mobilize for construction. Mobilization primarily consists of bringing temporary facilities and infrastructure (temporary construction offices and utilities) onto the site to support the start of construction. With this permitting approval, we are released to begin mobilization at any time. We expect to commence construction activities within a month.”

At the July 30 Quartz Hill job fair, an orientation about the AVSR One project and the construction process was provided by project manager Anthony Perrino.

The Mountain Enterprise spoke with residents from the Mountain Communities through the Antelope Valley. Applications were distributed. Residents of Neenach, Fairmont, Frazier Park, Lebec, Pine Mountain, Pinon Pines, Antelope Acres and Lancaster applied.

When asked if hiring by location of applicant’s residence is political, Martin said: “We are not prioritizing (hiring) based on Supervisor Antonovich’s district. We are building a project out there. People need jobs. We have jobs and we are trying to hire qualified local labor the best we can,”

Bonded contractors are still needed for projects such as landscaping, fencing, grading and building an office facility, said Oso Town Council’s Bob Plumlee on Monday, Aug. 1.

Meanwhile, several more renewable energy farm locations are being staked out in the Mountain Communities. First Solar confirmed they are working on a site on the Carrizo Plains and considering another just west of the Pine Mountain community.

“We are developing the ‘Topaz’ project on the Carrizo Plains….We also have an early stage project about 25 miles west of Pine Mountain, but that project does not have a Power Purchase Agreement and is not especially active,” Martin wrote.

The Gorman Wind Project, proposed for 520 acres of BLM and private land, was found on the Wind Energy, Inc. website by Susan Zahtner of the Three Points Town Council. She is concerned about threats to the endangered California condor.

Earlier in this Series:

July 22, 2011: What if 300 Jobs Came to this Area Overnight? They Just Did

This is part of the August 05, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.