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Wind farm proposed for foothills; Residents fear ruined views, lower home values

Despoiled views and reduced home values. Noise and dead birds.

That’s what homeowners think a proposed wind farm will bring to the highlands area between the eastern edge of Apple Valley and High Road in Lucerne Valley.

“They are noisy; I know how noisy they are,” Dr. Ingeborg Stotz of Hesperia said, adding that the windmills’ tall masts and large blades would ruin her view of the San Bernardino Mountains.

The proposed North Peak Wind Energy Project would populate 10,500 acres with up to 42 wind turbines and generate up to 120 megawatts of electricity. That is enough to power about 33,000 homes, according to applicant E.ON Climate & Renewables’ website.

“Not only are the windmills a problem but so is the line going to the new generating station at the top of Milpas (Road),” rural Apple Valley resident Kevin Moody said.

Moody said the wind farm would affect residents’ and visitors’ ability to enjoy the terrain and wildlife.

The project will include underground collection lines but require a substation with a 220-kilovolt interconnection line to Southern California Edison’s proposed Desert View Substation, sited at the south end of Milpas Road – a link in the Coolwater-Lugo Transmission Project for renewable energy generation.

North Peak is one of nine proposed wind projects on file with the Bureau of Land Management’s Barstow office as of March. Another 19 project applications are on file in the Ridgecrest office for wind farms, where one facility – Alta East – is authorized for construction.

Apple Valley Mayor Art Bishop requested a staff report on the North Peak project at a recent Town Council meeting.

“One of my concerns is that we can see it from most of Apple Valley,” he said. “I truly believe this is going to cause an impact on home values.”

Bishop also said he is concerned about the risks to protected species of birds.

The project application was forwarded to the California Desert District Renewable Energy Coordination Office for environmental processing and a notice for intent to submit an environmental impact statement is expected in the summer, according to a BLM report.

Neither E.ON nor BLM’s Barstow office immediately returned calls seeking comment.