“Some kinds of opposition you have to crush,” the Governor recently told a conference of renewables developers, adding, “You have to push [... or] we’re not going to get to the goal” of providing the state with a third of its power from renewable energy by 2020.
“We are well into construction,” First Solar Vice President Jim Woodruff said, “and making good progress.”
The company may also be making progress on what have been contentious relations with leaders of the Western Antelope Valley (AV) communities around the sprawling 2,000-acre AVSR1 site it bought from NextLight and sold to and is developing for Exelon.
As construction jobs go to Valley residents, questions about the use of outsiders quiet. “We have hired over 100 local residents,” Woodruff said. “There may be some difference about what we mean by ‘local.’ But certainly within the immediately adjacent area, as well as the broader Palmdale-Lancaster area, a lot of those folks are gainfully employed on the site.”
“Everybody wishes there were more jobs,” said Mel Layne, President of the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance. But, he added, with the recessionary economy and the housing construction slowdown, “It’s more than we have.”