Over the protests of a homebuilder and several Desert Hot Springs residents, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved the placement of two giant windmills just north of Palm Springs.
On a unanimous vote, the supervisors greenlighted construction of two wind turbines that will top out at 411 feet and generate an estimated 3 megawatts of electricity.
Whitewater Energy Corp. operates 253 energy-producing windmills in an area north of Interstate 10, along the southwest edge of the growing community of Desert Hot Springs, reputedly one of the most consistently windy areas on the planet.
The windmills drew opposition from Fort Worth, Texas-based homebuilder DR Horton sent a representative to try to persuade the board to deny the building permits, on the grounds that the structures would be an “eyesore” for residents living along hilltops less than two miles away.
Desert Hot Springs City Manager Steven Mendoza told the supervisors he was concerned about the “condition” of some windmills that have stopped running and started leaking “lubricants” he believed might be hazardous.
Supervisor Marion Ashley peppered Whitewater Energy’s Chief Operating Officer Brad Adams with questions about the structures’ “visual profile” and what might happen to “millions” of birds transiting the corridor where the windmills turn on a regular basis.
“Our one big turbine would represent 47 smaller ones,” Adams said. “The more big turbines we have, the more clean, green energy we can produce for the county.”
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