Impact on Wildlife and Virginia
The first wind-powered electric generation project in Virginia will be permitted on the remote ridges of Highland County, the State Corporation Commission said Thursday.
The commission granted conditional approval to Highland New Wind Development's $60 million proposal to place 19 turbines more than 400 feet tall on a 4,400-foot ridge near the West Virginia border.
The company must spend up to $150,000 a year to monitor and mitigate harm to birds and bats that could be caused by the whirling turbine blades, the SCC said. Environmentalists have contended many endangered species would be threatened by the project, and an SCC hearing examiner concluded that the turbines were a "significant risk" to bats and "a lesser risk" to birds.