I had to drive out to Yucca Valley yesterday (still looking for that Willys CJ2A!) and noticed quite a number of wind turbines out toward Palm Springs. As mentioned, Tehachapi has a large wind farm as well. (Bigger than the one I saw yesterday.)
California has vast deserts with hilly or mountainous terrain. The winds are very reliable. Tehachapi in particular is a good area. The Tehachapi Mountains run roughly east-west and are situated toward the very southern end of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. This “V” shape makes for a very large natural venturi. Mojave, CA sometimes gets winds in excess of 100mph blowing out of the Tehachapi Pass. California has an abundance of wind that blows through inexpensive real estate in relatively unpopulated areas. There is or was also an experimental solar plant between Barstow and Dagget that takes or took advantage of the desert sun.
I don’t know what the raptor population is in So. Cal., but I do see a lot of them. There are raptors nesting in the skyscrapers of downtown L.A. I see raptors frequently when I fly a helicopter in the local hills. True, they can be injured killed when they try to share airspace with blades that come around every second or so; but they’re smart birds that make their living figuring angles and trajectories. I think they can adapt or have adapted to windmills.
Are wind turbines noisy? Yes. But as I mentioned, they are generally built in unpopulated areas.
Are they ugly? Not to me. I look at them and think about how much better they are than oil- or gas-burning electric plants that spew hydrocarbons into the atmosphere. I think they look rather cool and “science-fictional”.
Backups for quiet days? I lived in the desert for 11 years and quiet days were very few. In L.A. people will talk about wind blowing 10 knots and I’ll say, “What wind?” The electrical system is not a plant providing power for a community. It’s a “grid” in which shortfalls from one plant can be made up for by a surplus at another. So one non-windy day won’t have that much of an impact.
By the way: The “power crisis” in California isn’t really a power crisis. It’s all about money. When the state deregulated the power industry, out-of-state suppliers (CA imports about 20% of its power) hiked prices. So now California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric are hemorrhaging cash. They say they can’t afford to supply power at prices close to the regulated price. (Fortunately I’m on L.A.'s Department of Water & Power, which did not join deregulation. So I’m immune from the “rolling blackouts” and outrageous price hikes.) Not that I blame other states. California should have planned for capitalism. New generators should have been built. Ah, what the hell. I hope to be out of this bloody state in a couple of months.
(*Note: I don’t hang out at GD, so I don’t know if the above has been addressed.)
Back to the OP: Some places have a huge quantity of coal, so they generate power with coal. Some have natural gas, so they use gas. Southern California has wind, so we use it to supplement the polluting, non-renewable resource using plants. As Yeah said, you may just live in an area that does not have constant winds.