PPM, a member of the ScottishPower group of companies, recently held an open house that gave everyone an up close and personal look at the wind farm located just north of I-10 west of Indian.
A total of 267 people toured an existing wind farm which uses similar technology to what is proposed at Dillon, and many said they were amazed by the quietness of the area.
The Dillon proposal includes 45 wind turbines on three sites, two of which previously housed turbines. The new turbines produce more energy, generate zero emissions, and according to Communications Director Jan Johnson, are more reliable than earlier turbines, and will produce very little noise.
According to PPM’s claim, if you were standing between 750 and 1,000 feet from an operating wind farm, the noise you would hear would be similar to standing next to a kitchen refrigerator. The 45 proposed windmills will be 327 feet tall compared to the existing windmills’ height of 274 feet.
Communications Director Johnson added that the wind industry made a commitment to learning from its very early days in the Altamont Pass area in Northern California.
“In recent years, we have been siting turbines in the San Gorgonio Pass where no significant impact on birds has been found, according a study for the Califonia Energy Commission, to avoid known flyways. In addition, modern wind turbines themselves have been improved to further reduce potential impact on birds,” she said.
Windmills occasionally leak small amounts of lubricating oil and hydraulic fuel, but that is immediately cleaned by the on-site maintenance team. According to Public Affairs Consultant Brian Nestande, “PPM Energy meets or exceeds all hazardous materials laws and regulations.”
Several real estate studies have shown wind farms do not have a negative impact on residential property values. One study found Desert Hot Springs property values of homes with a view of the wind farm area actually increased faster than comparable properties having no view of the wind farms.
According to PPM’s head of permitting, Andrew Linehan, “There is no need to develop schools or roads, and building is quick (six to eight months using only 30-60 construction workers).”
The Dillon Wind Project is scheduled to go before Riverside County Planning Commission April 18, and then the Board of Supervisors and the City of Palm Springs Planning Commission and the city council in May.
By Bob Aronsohn, Desert Hot Springs
24 March 2007
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