HESPERIA – Citing a myriad of problems that may result from a proposed renewable energy plant, the City Council this week approved a resolution opposing the North Peak Wind Project.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, the council voted quickly and with little discussion to oppose the project, which is proposed for the highlands between Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley, overlooking a portion of Hesperia.
The 71 wind-turbine project, on 10,433 acres of Bureau of Land Management property in the Grapevine Canyon and North Peak area, was presented to state regulators in January, but withdrawn for presentation again, possibly within the next two months.
Julie Ryan, environmental programs manager for the city, said the wind farm would be visible to many residents in Hesperia. Ryan said staff recommended that the council oppose construction of the project. Based on maps of the project, the 500-foot-high turbines would be seen from the northeast end of Hesperia.
A staff report said locating the turbines through the communities and public lands of the San Bernardino Mountains would likely create immediate and long-term effects to property values, disturb Native American cultural resources, interfere with radar tracking of aircraft, create environmental concerns and pose a fire danger threat. Additionally, the project could impact land use permits and diminish the aesthetic quality of the region.
Councilman Bill Holland said the unsightliness of the project is a huge issue, but not as important as the physical damage the wind farm could do.
“I’ve done the homework and received a lot of emails, and all I read and hear about is how inefficient and noisy the windmills are,” Holland said after the meeting. “Those towers also destroy the desert habitat in the air and on the ground.”
During public comment, one resident thanked the city for its recommendation to oppose the project and said the wind farm would not benefit the High Desert.
A staff report said the wind project is designed to deliver 120 megawatts of electricity from the renewable wind resource, with power sent to “Los Angeles and other areas in the West.”
The wind turbines would be lined by transmission lines and would require 22 miles of service haul roads that are 44 feet wide running through Lucerne Valley and Apple Valley.
San Bernardino County supervisors Robert Lovingood and James Ramos have sent letters to the Bureau of Land Management opposing the wind project and over 11,300 citizens have signed a petition, according to a staff report.
Holland, who said he’s 100 percent behind renewable energy in the form of mounted solar panels on homes, said the towering turbines would also hinder firefighting efforts
“The destruction of habit would be immense, and they don’t produce electricity at a discernible level,” he said. “Why doesn’t L.A. have 50 of them?”