Article

Wind farm fails to generate support

The N.C. Utilities Commission dismissed Calhoun's application Friday, saying he provided insufficient information, despite being granted a 120-day extension. The commission denied the application nine days after Calhoun submitted a letter explaining that no financial institution was willing to invest in his project until the commission approved it. The project was also opposed by the Public Staff, the state's consumer agency in utility matters. The Public Staff concluded that wind turbines are barred in the mountains under the state's Mountain Ridge Protection Act of 1983. The law prohibits the construction of buildings or structures more than 40 feet tall on mountain ridges, but it exempts windmills. Wind power advocates say the windmill exemption allows wind turbines, but the interpretation is unclear. The Public Staff relied on a 2002 legal opinion from the state Attorney General, who concluded that the 1983 law bars commercial-scale wind-power operations.

An Ashe County doctor and Christmas tree grower lost his yearlong bid Friday to develop the state's first commercial-scale wind farm.

Richard Calhoun had proposed 25 to 28 wind turbines in the Appalachian Mountains, each turbine extending nearly 400 feet from the base to the tip of the blade. The project would have generated 50 megawatts, enough electricity to power 15,000 homes. It also generated fierce opposition from local residents who feared the giant turbines would damage tourism and harm real-estate values.

The N.C. Utilities Commission dismissed Calhoun's application Friday, saying he provided insufficient information, despite being granted a 120-day extension. The commission denied the application nine days after Calhoun submitted a letter explaining that no financial institution was willing to invest in his project until the commission approved it.

Calhoun, a former Ashe County commissioner, could not be reached for comment Friday. He had planned the project on Big Springs Mountain in the Creston community in Ashe County. He owns the mountain in the northwestern corner of the state.

The project was also opposed by the Public Staff, the state's consumer agency in utility matters. The... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

An Ashe County doctor and Christmas tree grower lost his yearlong bid Friday to develop the state's first commercial-scale wind farm.

Richard Calhoun had proposed 25 to 28 wind turbines in the Appalachian Mountains, each turbine extending nearly 400 feet from the base to the tip of the blade. The project would have generated 50 megawatts, enough electricity to power 15,000 homes. It also generated fierce opposition from local residents who feared the giant turbines would damage tourism and harm real-estate values.

The N.C. Utilities Commission dismissed Calhoun's application Friday, saying he provided insufficient information, despite being granted a 120-day extension. The commission denied the application nine days after Calhoun submitted a letter explaining that no financial institution was willing to invest in his project until the commission approved it.

Calhoun, a former Ashe County commissioner, could not be reached for comment Friday. He had planned the project on Big Springs Mountain in the Creston community in Ashe County. He owns the mountain in the northwestern corner of the state.

The project was also opposed by the Public Staff, the state's consumer agency in utility matters. The Public Staff concluded that wind turbines are barred in the mountains under the state's Mountain Ridge Protection Act of 1983. The law prohibits the construction of buildings or structures more than 40 feet tall on mountain ridges, but it exempts windmills.

Wind power advocates say the windmill exemption allows wind turbines, but the interpretation is unclear. The Public Staff relied on a 2002 legal opinion from the state Attorney General, who concluded that the 1983 law bars commercial-scale wind-power operations.

 



Source: http://www.newsobserver.com...

JUL 28 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/10318-wind-farm-fails-to-generate-support
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