Over 17,000 Acres Were To Be Used For GA Airport
What started as an ambitious plan to expand operations at Los
Angeles Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD) appears now to be on the
fast track towards becoming a massive solar energy complex
The Los Angeles Times reported last week on a proposition on the
March 3 city ballot, that would require the massive metroplex to
generate 400 megawatts of solar electricity by 2014. That has local
officials looking at 4,000 undeveloped acres near PMD, purchased
years ago as part of a larger 17,000-acre land tract intended for
development as an intercontinental airport.
If all that land was used for a solar farm, it could generate
about 25 percent of the goal espoused by the proposition, known as
Measure B. "It would be like having the city's own power plant,"
said H. David Nahai, general manager for Los Angeles Department of
Water and Power. "Who would say no to that?"
For one, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who
has often criticized the city's narrow vision on redistributing air
traffic throughout the area. His district includes Palmdale, and
proponents for the solar farm would need his vote to push the
"The city of Los Angeles took this land by eminent domain for
the express purpose of establishing and operating a regional
airport vital to our county's ability to provide air transportation
service now and in the future," Antonovich said in a prepared
statement. "The city should keep its promise to the people of the
Antelope Valley or give the land back to its rightful owners."
Since the land was purchased with the intent to develop an
airport, the FAA would also need to approve use of the land for the
Most traffic utilizing PMD is private-use and corporate, or
connected with the US Air Force's Plant 42, which is also located
there. Efforts to expand commercial service there have largely
The Times notes eight airlines have tried and failed to
establish profitable service from PMD, with United the most recent
carrier to pull out. Officials have since closed the commercial
terminal, and plans are afoot to surrender the airport's operating
certificate. Some city officials, including Palmdale Mayor James
Ledford, continue to work to attract new airline service.
"A solar farm. That is a far cry from an airport," Ledford said,
adding Los Angeles World Airports "has never approached us about