Library from Virginia
Wind turbines could co-exist with military activities off Virginia's coast depending on their locations, a Defense Department assessment has concluded. Proponents of commercial wind power 12 miles or beyond Virginia's coast believe the giant turbines could ultimately provide 10 percent of the state's annual electricity demand.
Issues currently facing the proposed Highland New Wind Development project.
Concerned citizens and conservationists have joined with the Animal Welfare Institute and the public-interest law firm, Meyer Glitzenstein and Crystal, to notify Highland New Wind Development, LLC and the Highland County Board of Supervisors of their intent to sue if HNWD proceeds with turbine construction in defiance of the Endangered Species Act. Earlier this year HNWD "promised" the county supervisors that it would obtain the required Incidental Take Permit (ITP). The notice letter can be downloaded by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
Highland New Wind Development hoped to have its 39-megawatt wind energy plant under construction by now, but citizens and state agency officials continue to demand proper plans before allowing Virginia's first wind utility to move forward. Nearby landowners, scientists, and county residents are particularly concerned now about HNWD's Erosion and Sediment Control plan.
Industrial wind plants are the fastest growing form of alternative energy. They make electricity without producing greenhouse gases, but how truly green they are depends on where they are located. Some turbines out west routinely kill thousands of birds, and rare sagebrush grouse stand to lose their most important habitat to concrete grids of turbine pads. Along eastern mountain ridges beneath migratory flyways, more bats and songbirds are killed by turbines than anywhere else in the world.
Dominion hasn't given up on its plans to build a wind farm in Tazewell County, spokesman James Beazley said Monday during the Southwest Virginia Technology Council's third annual energy technology summit. ...The project received what appeared to be a fatal blow Feb. 2, when the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in favor of a tall structure ordinance.
As word spread through Tazewell County Friday that Dominion is still attempting to build a wind turbine farm on East River Mountain, the reaction from local residents and county officials ranged from disappointment to support for the project. "They came in and divided our community," Dr. Teresa Paine, a member of the Mountain Preservation Association in Bluefield, Va., said. "I think some of the wounds were just beginning to heal, and now they are going to come back in and open those back up again."
Plans for a wind turbine farm on East River Mountain will not be abandoned, officials with Dominion said Thursday. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, David A. Christian, the chief executive officer of Dominion Generation, said the company remains convinced the wind turbine project will create jobs, income and economic opportunities for Tazewell County.
Construction on the 38-megawatt wind utility planned for Allegheny Mountain has not resumed yet, according to Highland building official Jim Whitelaw. Whitelaw visited the project site this week for an inspection, and said no work is under way and the developer has not applied for its building permits. Highland New Wind Development LLC told county supervisors in January it intends to apply for a federal Incidental Take Permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which requires creating a Habitat Conservation Plan to protect endangered species. According to Kim Smith, a USFWS biologist, the company should get such a permit. “In fact, in all of our letters (to HNWD) we have always said they should get one. We’ve been telling them to do this all along,” she said. A group of Highland citizens agrees. They have notified county supervisors three times that they intend to file legal action in federal court unless HNWD gets an ITP, and would hold the county board responsible if one is not obtained.
Citing concerns about noise and aesthetics, the Isle of Wight Planning Commission on Tuesday delayed voting on a proposed zoning ordinance that would allow wind turbines to be used for producing electricity.
Anyone who wants to see the battleground at Camp Allegheny like it was during the Civil War better do it soon. Virginia's three-person State Corporation Commission (SCC) issued an order on February 26 that clears the way for construction of a 19-turbine wind energy facility less than two miles from the Camp Allegheny battlefield in Pocahontas County.
Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law Wednesday offshore drilling legislation intended to realize his goal of making Virginia the East Coast's energy superpower. The bills supporting offshore oil and gas exploration and directing royalties from drilling back to Virginia each hinge on actions by the federal government and Congress.
On Jan. 27, county staff gave the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors a draft of a new zoning ordinance, which, if approved, would give a special use permit to two wind companies. The companies, Solaya Inc. out of Massachusetts and Dominion Utility out of Richmond, want to put large wind turbines on a private mountaintop near Criders. There are a number of problems with wind farms.
We're open to Chicago-based Invenergy's latest proposal to come into the Roanoke Valley with a plan to put 15 windmills on top of Poor Mountain. Yes, along a ridgeline in prominent view as traffic along Interstate 81 comes and goes through the Roanoke Valley. ...That doesn't mean we're ready to endorse Invenergy's project, though.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission on Feb. 26 denied the Virginia Department of Historic Resources' complaint against Highland New Wind's 38-MW Highland project in Highland County, Va. SCC Senior Hearing Examiner Alexander Skirpan Jr. recommended Jan. 25 that the commission dismiss DHR's complaint, which said Highland New Wind failed to comply with a number of conditions stated in the SCC's Dec. 20, 2007, final order approving the project. The department said the sunset provision in the SCC's final order requiring Highland New Wind to begin construction by Dec. 20, 2009, had expired. Although the project has begun grading and moving earth on the site, the DHR said the project was in violation because nothing has been constructed. Construction is expected to begin this spring.
The winds of change met voices of opposition Wednesday night, when Don Giecek, Invenergy's business development manager, pitched a plan for a wind farm to a crowd of 60 Bent Mountain-area residents at the local fire and rescue station. Invenergy wants to build 15 turbines on Poor Mountain and sell their power to Appalachian Power Co.
A Chicago-based clean energy company envisions a wind farm of 15 turbines atop a portion of Poor Mountain in Roanoke County. Invenergy's power-generating windmills would be 443 feet from base to the highest tip of a blade and occupy ridge lines along what has been described as one of Virginia's windiest land-based wind power generation sites.
Invenergy's power-generating windmills would be 443 feet from base to the highest tip of a blade and occupy ridge lines along what has been described as one of Virginia's windiest land-based wind power generation sites. Don Giecek, a business development manager for Invenergy, noted that Poor Mountain already hosts telecommunications equipment, other infrastructure and an access road with which the project could intersect. And Appalachian Power Co. has an existing transmission line nearby, offering a potential carrier for the power generated, he said.
A mountain ridge in Highland County has been cleared for the state's first commercial wind farm. While site preparation began last summer, official clearance came recently from the State Corporation Commission, which dismissed a complaint that the project will ruin the view from a nearby Civil War battlefield.
Two green-energy companies have asked the federal government to approve permits for wind farms off the coast of Virginia Beach, the first applications to develop offshore wind power in Virginia. While the news was exciting to state and local officials, environmentalists and entrepreneurs, the early effort offers little indication of what, if anything, may actually be built in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.