Library from Virginia
Apex Clean Energy will not start site work by the end of this year, as originally planned, on a project to build up to 25 giant, power-generating turbines on top of a Botetourt County mountain, a company official said Wednesday.
DALEVILLE — A clean energy developer hopes to start construction of a wind farm in Botetourt County by year’s end, even as it continues to search for a power company to purchase electricity generated by the giant turbines.
Sapsuckers are unfortunately one of the causalities from wind turbines. As a bird that migrates at night, it cannot easily see the spinning turbine, and tens of thousands of these birds collide with them and die during the fall and spring migrations. Reducing the number of sapsuckers puts pressure on these other species that depend on them and, even if those dependent animals are not known to collide with wind turbines, the death of one can become the death of many.
"The all-in number is $300 million, and that includes some of the money that has been spent to date by Dominion on research and development," said David Botkins, a Dominion spokesman. ...The deal calls for Dong to build two 6 MW wind turbines 27 miles offshore of Virginia Beach.
In what is called a mitigation plan – which DEQ accepted in approving the application – Apex says it also will avoid cutting trees within five miles of the bats’ caves and within 150 feet of summer roosting trees for northern long-eared bats from early spring to fall. Opponents of the wind farm continue to question assessments that it will not harm birds and bats, pointing out that the supporting research was done by expert firms hired by Apex.
Currituck County officials have imposed a two-month moratorium on building solar farms over concerns raised about the largest array in the eastern United States already underway here. Residents have complained to county commissioners about a 2,000-acre site under construction in Moyock that will be filled with the mirrored-glass panels.
The winds of political change that swept the country last week are not expected to impact a proposed wind farm in Botetourt County.
Wind turbines nearly as tall as the Washington Monument standing on top of North Mountain in Botetourt County would not pose a danger to passing aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration has determined.
The former commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Steve Wright, disputed that the project was likely to benefit the goal of curbing global warming. “I am here because this is a reflection of such poor energy policy and poor climate change policy. This development on public land will do nothing but damage the best habitat for black bears in the state, and will do nothing for climate change action."
In the federal government, nobody has a bigger-picture view of offshore wind energy’s potential than Abigail Ross Hopper.
Dominion has proposed building two 6-megawatt turbines about 27 miles off the Virginia Beach coast, and recently has been evaluating a second set of bids for the project that would put its total cost between $300 million and $380 million. The first bid round yielded an estimate of $375 million to $400 million. Dominion’s initial projection was $230 million.
Apex Clean Energy will turn the turbines off from dusk to dawn every year between May 15 and Nov. 15, when bats are foraging for food. But they could remain on when the wind is blowing faster that 15 mph or when the temperature dips below 38 degrees, conditions that keep the bats grounded.
Opponents have said the spinning blades of the giant windmills will kill birds and bats, and that placing the 550-foot-tall turbines on a pristine ridgeline will cause erosion and stream water contamination. ...The DEQ application process is permit-by-rule, meaning that the wind farm would be approved administratively if it meets 14 standard requirements.
A second round of bids to build two wind turbines off the Virginia Beach coast appears to have lowered the price, but Dominion Virginia Power officials haven’t decided yet whether to green-light the demonstration project. “We are optimistic, but it is a fairly hefty cost to deploy these turbines,” Mark Mitchell, a Dominion vice president, said in an interview Wednesday.
Stacy explained why he pushed for zoning that would have prohibited wind turbine farms. He pointed to the ridgeline of East River Mountain directly behind the park; Dominion Power wants to cover that with wind turbines. ...[potential residents] would not want to see that.
On Jan. 26, Botetourt County’s Board of Supervisors gave its unanimous blessing to the construction of 25 550- foot tall wind turbines on North Mountain.
The zoning ordinance currently being proposed by the county Board of Supervisors would restrict certain developments within the Eastern District, including wind turbines and medical waste incinerators.
“My position remains that 85, if not 95 percent of those folks in the Eastern District, do not want to see that commercial wind turbine project go forward on East River Mountain,” Stacy said. “I’ve invited them twice to look at other sites, including one of the old abandoned strip mines that has a lot of infrastructure on it.” Ryan Frazier, a spokesman for Dominion, said the company evaluated several different ridgetops early into the process.
Up to 25 wind turbines would pose a “presumed hazard” to aircraft navigation from their perch atop North Mountain, the Federal Aviation Administration has determined.
A crash course on a proposed wind energy project in Botetourt County is to be offered to Rockbridge County residents one day before the proposal is slated to be approved.