North Peak Project Threatens Southern California High Desert

Published in the Victor Valley Daily Press, July 20, 2014

by Robert Earle Howells

The Daily Press has given its readers a chance to express their opinion about the North Peak Wind Project, and as of this writing, about 80% are opposed.

Why the overwhelming opposition? Because this industrial-scale wind-turbine project would be a very, very bad deal for High Desert residents.

No one should confuse this wind plant with rosy notions of a green future of renewable energy. For one thing, any power that North Peak would produce would be sent over the hill to energy-hungry Los Angeles and other parts of the West, while High Desert residents are left to suffer the consequences of its intrusive and destructive effects.

What could we expect should this travesty make its way through the approval process? 1.) An obliterated skyline. 2.) Severe fire danger in our tinder-dry mountains. Giant wind turbines are notoriously prone to catching fire, and their mere presence would severely hamper firefighting efforts. 3.) A construction project that would cut a swath of destruction across highly sensitive habitat, home to desert tortoises, endangered golden eagles, southwestern willow flycatchers, and 30 more special-status species. 4.) Property values would plummet. One local assessor has already noticed property values dropping in the targeted area.

Don’t for a moment confuse this project with “green” energy or friendly windmills harnessing the wind for renewable energy. The wind turbines that the German energy company (E.ON) is proposing are 500 feet tall. Their rotors have a span far greater than that of a Boeing 747. According to the company’s own proposal, haul roads up to 44 feet wide would have to be blasted across public land to transport gargantuan turbine components to our pristine ridgetops. Nearly 10,500 acres of gorgeous desert landscape would become an industrial zone.

Any sense of the tranquility and beauty that draws people to the High Desert would be sacrificed, while a giant German company lines its investors’ pockets with profits gleaned at our expense.