August 3, 2013

Plug pulled on wind project, official says

Kris Reilly, City Editor | Daily Press | August 02, 2013 |

A plan to build 27 wind turbines on a mountain range east of Apple Valley appears doomed, a Bureau of Land Management official said Friday.

BLM Barstow Resources Branch Chief Mickey Quillman said he was told this week by the BLM project manager that developer RES Americas withdrew its application to build the Granite Mountain Wind Energy Project.

“I have not seen anything officially in writing, but it’s my understanding that the project has gone by the wayside,” Quillman said.

Attempts to reach RES Americas were not immediately successful on Friday.

An RES official confirmed last month that the company terminated its agreement to sell the power generated by the project to Southern California Edison – another grim sign for the project.

The plan had been on the drawing board for more than five years. The development hit a major snag when golden eagles were found nesting near the project site, which lies on 72 acres in the Granite Mountain range near Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley.

Quillman did not know the reasons for RES’ decision, but he said the golden eagle issue was not resolved and was likely a factor in the project’s downfall.

“I’m elated,” said 47-year-old Lucerne Valley resident Dennis Morrison, who lives just a mile or two from the proposed site. “It’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time.”

Though RES claimed that the project could provide renewable energy to some 70,000 people, many residents believed the 415-foot towers would be an eyesore and would disrupt the desert wilderness of the Granite range.

“That was the whole point of me picking that spot (to live),” Morrison said. “It’s a very rural, beautiful place. … I had already prepared myself to start looking for other properties.”

Rene De La Cruz contributed to this report.

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