Article

Hearing set on wind energy systems in Warren County

The Warren County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing next month on proposed regulations for wind energy systems. ...Energy system towers would be limited to 80 feet with the exception of those in the industrial zoning district, which could have a height of up to 120 feet, the ordinance reads. Towers for energy systems used for commercial power generation would be limited to 120 feet in height.

FRONT ROYAL -- The Warren County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing next month on proposed regulations for wind energy systems.

The hearing at 7:30 p.m. on April 8 will concern changes to Chapter 180 of the zoning ordinance that would add the definition of a turbine and allow private use of wind energy systems.

The amendments also would allow, upon issuance of a conditional-use permit from the Board of Supervisors, "wind energy system, commercial power generation" -- defined in the proposed ordinance as "such facilities owned and operated for the specific purpose of generating electricity to put out on the electric grid" -- in the agricultural, commercial and industrial districts.

"The timing's great. It's still not cheap, but depending on the price for fuel or oil, hopefully it's a win-win for the people in the county if we can reduce our dependence on electricity," Planning Commission Chairman Mark Bower said after the panel's March 11 meeting.

If approved, the ordinance would require wind turbines to be approved by the American Wind Energy Association. Under the proposal, private-use wind energy systems would consist of "a wind turbine, a tower and... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

FRONT ROYAL -- The Warren County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing next month on proposed regulations for wind energy systems.

The hearing at 7:30 p.m. on April 8 will concern changes to Chapter 180 of the zoning ordinance that would add the definition of a turbine and allow private use of wind energy systems.

The amendments also would allow, upon issuance of a conditional-use permit from the Board of Supervisors, "wind energy system, commercial power generation" -- defined in the proposed ordinance as "such facilities owned and operated for the specific purpose of generating electricity to put out on the electric grid" -- in the agricultural, commercial and industrial districts.

"The timing's great. It's still not cheap, but depending on the price for fuel or oil, hopefully it's a win-win for the people in the county if we can reduce our dependence on electricity," Planning Commission Chairman Mark Bower said after the panel's March 11 meeting.

If approved, the ordinance would require wind turbines to be approved by the American Wind Energy Association. Under the proposal, private-use wind energy systems would consist of "a wind turbine, a tower and associated control or conversion electronics, which has a rated capacity of not more than 100 kilowatts and which is intended to primarily reduce on-site consumption of utility power."

Energy system towers would be limited to 80 feet with the exception of those in the industrial zoning district, which could have a height of up to 120 feet, the ordinance reads. Towers for energy systems used for commercial power generation would be limited to 120 feet in height.

The minimum distance between the ground and protruding blades used on wind energy systems must be 15 feet, and the lowest point of the arc of the blade must be 10 feet above the height of any structure within 150 feet of the base, the proposed ordinance reads.

The ordinance also would mandate that noise levels for energy systems not exceed 60 decibels as measured at the closest neighboring dwelling. Noise levels, however, can be exceeded during short-term events such as power outages or severe wind storms. Meanwhile, wind energy systems declared unsafe by a Warren County building official must be repaired to meet local, state and federal safety standards or removed within six months, the ordinance reads.

Counties in the Shenandoah Valley and southwest Virginia have been subject to proposals from wind farm developers since 2001, according to a report prepared in November for the Shenandoah Valley Network and Rockingham Community Alliance for Preservation by John D. Hutchinson of the Jennings Gap Partnership. The report states "substantial wind resources" have been identified in the Shenandoah Valley, though wind power off Virginia's coast is believed to be much stronger.

The strongest wind resources in the valley are located on the ridge lines of the Blue Ridge, according to Hutchinson's report, which also states there is enough wind power at lower elevations in the valley to support the development of small wind projects to power individual homes, businesses and farms. "These resources have attracted the attention of large-scale wind investors since 2001 and have raised concerns about impacts of industrial wind development on forests, water quality, wildlife and scenic vistas," the report reads.

Wind power is currently supplying 48 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in the United States annually, powering the equivalent of more than 4.5 million homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The wind energy industry is seeking a national standard of 25 percent renewable electricity by the year 2025.


Source: http://www.nvdaily.com/news...

MAR 21 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19482-hearing-set-on-wind-energy-systems-in-warren-county
back to top