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BP, Dominion urge ‘careful consideration' for windmills

Representatives of Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America are asking the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors to give "thoughtful and careful consideration" to a proposed large-scale windmill project. Company officials will be attendance at Tuesday's public hearing on a proposed ridgeline projection ordinance, which - if adopted - could impact the development of a wind turbine project planned for East River Mountain.

BLUEFIELD, Va. - Representatives of Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America are asking the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors to give "thoughtful and careful consideration" to a proposed large-scale windmill project.

Company officials will be attendance at Tuesday's public hearing on a proposed ridgeline projection ordinance, which - if adopted - could impact the development of a wind turbine project planned for East River Mountain. The project has divided area residents - with many speaking against and many in favor of the windmills.

"There will be representatives from BP and Dominion in attendance, but we are not planning to participate," Ryan Frazier, a corporate communications manager for Dominion, said. "What we would like is thoughtful and careful consideration of the potential wind project before a decision on the ordinance is made. And we are also planning to hold an information meeting in the coming weeks about the project."

Several concerned citizens, including members of the newly formed Mountain Preservation Association, have expressed concerns about the impact of the project on the environment and wildlife, including birds.

The Mountain Preservation Association members also... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

BLUEFIELD, Va. - Representatives of Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America are asking the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors to give "thoughtful and careful consideration" to a proposed large-scale windmill project.

Company officials will be attendance at Tuesday's public hearing on a proposed ridgeline projection ordinance, which - if adopted - could impact the development of a wind turbine project planned for East River Mountain. The project has divided area residents - with many speaking against and many in favor of the windmills.

"There will be representatives from BP and Dominion in attendance, but we are not planning to participate," Ryan Frazier, a corporate communications manager for Dominion, said. "What we would like is thoughtful and careful consideration of the potential wind project before a decision on the ordinance is made. And we are also planning to hold an information meeting in the coming weeks about the project."

Several concerned citizens, including members of the newly formed Mountain Preservation Association, have expressed concerns about the impact of the project on the environment and wildlife, including birds.

The Mountain Preservation Association members also argue the windmill project will lead to clear cutting of timber on mountain tops; the destruction of property values; significant water problems across the county and a destruction of the peace and quiet of East River Mountain due to what the group argues is a constant noise from the windmills. The association members also fear the windmill project will damage hunting and wildlife habitats.

Frazier said there is no firm timeline for the Tazewell County project.

"Generally, a wind farm takes two to five years to develop, but that's in the general sense," Frazier said. "In our case, it's too early to tell and give a definite timeline."

Frazier said the general description of the windmills provided by county officials is accurate.

"Basically the average or most turbines you are going to get, when you are standing under them from the base to the very top of the blade will be about 400 feet," Frazier said. "When you are talking about a commercial wind farm, they are gong to be somewhere from 380 to 460 feet from the base to the top of the blade."

Frazier said Dominion and BP are still conducting a number of studies at the site of the proposed wind turbine project.

"I can tell you we are in the process of conducting a number of studies," Frazier said. "Those studies include your wind speed, wind direction studies, and the other type of studies we would be conducting would be your wildlife and environmental studies, and wetland studies and you also have your geotechnical and archeological surveys," Frazier said. "Those are the type of surveys we are in the process of conducting."

Frazier said Dominion and BP are not considering a second windfarm site in Burkes Garden. The two companies have purchased 2,560 acres of land in Tazewell County.

When asked about community concerns about flashing red lights on the top of windmills, Frazier said every three to four windmills will have a flashing red light.

"Yes, there would be some red lights that gently come on and off at night," he said. "If we were to develop the project, it wouldn't be on every turbine. It would be every three or four. It's a FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulation. We don't expect those flashing lights to disturb any nearby residences."

Frazier said the companies are looking for a wind resource that is sufficient for utility-scale power production. When asked if people will travel to see wind turbines, Frazier said, "As a tourist attraction, it is our experience at Dominion that during the construction phase and subsequent operation, tourism tends to increase."

Frazier said the energy generated by the turbines would go on the regional grid.

"When I can say here is that it doesn't matter what type of generation facility is around in Virginia - whether it is coal, natural gas or nuclear renewable - it goes into the regional transmission grid," Frazier said.

Frazier said the regional grid is operated for 13 states.

In addition to the Tazewell County project, the company also is evaluating a wind turbine project for Wise County.


Source: http://www.bdtonline.com/lo...

FEB 2 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18871-bp-dominion-urge-careful-consideration-for-windmills
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