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Sunday, May 3, 2009, Antelope Valley Press

PLAN: Turbines could support at least 245,000
and ecological impacts the project may have on the area. The turbines — 417 feet tall at the uppermost reach of their blades — would be placed on 3,503 acres of private property near Tweedy Lake, about 1.5 miles north of Pine Canyon Road and about six miles northwest of Lake Hughes. Proposed to be completed in 2012, the turbines would generate electricity enough to serve at least 245,000 people in Los Angeles County, proponents said. White Oak Wind Farm LLC, a subsidiary of Advanced Development Services LLC, is proposing the wind farm to sell electricity to Southern California Edison. Members of the Lakes Town Council said they did not know yet how much of the project would be a visual blight for the Lake Hughes, Elizabeth Lake and Leona Valley communities. But if power lines stretching from west to east and north to south intersected in Leona Valley, the area would become a “spiderweb of power lines and towers,” according to a letter the council drafted to Supervisor Michael Antonovich. Members of the newly founded Lakes and Valleys Conservancy were also concerned what the wind turbines would mean for preserving the habitat of several birds listed as endangered, threatened and or species of concern. According to Advanced Development Services’ outline of the project, the location proposed for the turbines “is not a wilderness area, an area used for military operations or critical habitat.” But Alice Benoit, a member of the Leona Valley Town Council, said the area contains important species. When Benoit reported the sighting of a tri-colored blackbird, she said it brought biologists from as far as the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Davis. Benoit admitted, however, it’s been hard to get enough biologists
From A1

Honestly, I feel like we’re in over our heads because we don’t have enough experts supplied to us.
— Alice Benoit, Leona Valley Town Council
in the area to prove to government agencies that the area needs to be better protected. “Honestly, I feel like we’re in over our heads because we don’t have enough experts supplied to us,” Benoit said. Instead she proposed residents conduct an informal study of the area’s habitat by handing out free disposable cameras and taking photos of the birds everyone should keep an eye out for. “Start taking pictures of them if you see them, then note the date, time and location,” Benoit said. “It’s a crazy idea, but what else are we going to do?” Norm Hickling, a representative of Antonovich, offered some comfort to the town council when he said the White Oak Wind Farm’s application for a conditional-use permit had been stalled because of a lack of information. “The good news is that it looks like they’ve got a lot of work to do,” Hickling said. “I think we’d all like to burn less fossil fuels for our energy, but putting transmission lines into someone’s backyard to have more green energy doesn’t fit the bill, at least not as I think of it.” Walker said he is still uneasy about what he sees as an ongoing trend of government agencies and companies using the excitement over green energy to neglect the communities that must make

sacrifices for it. “In no way do we want the wind energy plans to stop — we just want the county to come up with a wellthought-out plan,” Walker said. “I’m all for green energy, but our government has some responsibility to listen to the communities affected by plans for it.” The council unanimously approved a call for the creation of a Board of Supervisors special commission for rural transmission line oversight. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which wants to build power lines from Tehachapi wind farms through the lakes area; Southern California Edison, which is building a new power line through Leona Valley, and White Oak Wind Farm officials all say their projects are meant to help the state meet the California Renewable Portfolio Standard. The California Renewable Portfolio Standard mandates that the state must produce approximately 3,500 megawatts of wind and solar energy by 2010 and another 7,000 megawatts of wind and solar energy by 2020.
avaughn@avpress.com

An artist’s conception shows the proposed White Oaks wind farm planned on a ridge northwest of Lake Hughes.
Advanced Development Services Inc.

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