Library from Virginia
Federal regulators have received leasing proposals from two Virginia companies seeking to develop offshore wind farms capable of supplying clean energy to hundreds of thousands of homes. Apex Wind Energy Inc. is proposing to lease 116,000 acres for an undetermined number of wind turbines with the potential to generate up to 1,500 megawatts of power.
The Allegheny Front Alliance has appealed the West Virginia Public Service Commission's approval of the Pinnacle Wind Farm, delaying construction of the 23-turbine project atop Green Mountain. The Alliance, which represents opponents to the Pinnacle project, filed its "petition for reconsideration" late last month, submitting a 13-page appeal that raises a number of issues with the approval.
With the wind turbine debate over with at least for the moment, and the mystery surrounding the large boom folks heard across Tazewell well - still a mystery - one might assume that things might quiet down a little bit in Tazewell County. ...Maybe there were a few lessons for our region and our nation to learn from this story.
Planning commission members are putting the finishing touches on a proposed ordinance that would regulate the construction of wind turbines across Tazewell County. The draft ordinance would regulate everything from setbacks with regards to wattage generated by wind turbines to the distance wind turbines could be erected from a road and the decibel volume of the tall structures.
Brian Cochran, Bluefield city solicitor, in the process of drafting a tall structure ordinance so the city has something in place if a developer specifically wants to acquire property and erect a wind turbine project like the proposed Dominion and BP project in Tazewell County, but Cochran said there's no hurry to get one in place. "The city of Bluefield already has some restrictive zoning in place," Cochran said. "I don't see where our code would allow a development like the one that has been proposed in Tazewell County."
Tazewell County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that prevents wind farm construction on specified locations. Wind industry supporters say it's an example of how the "anti-wind agenda" is gaining steam. It's one of the latest ordinances in the country adopted by local government that prevents wind farm construction as the federal government is pushing for cleaner greener technologies.
The approval of the so-called ridgeline protection ordinance for Tazewell County may not be the end of the wind turbine debate. Although officials with Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America say they are now mulling over their options for the East River Mountain project, company spokesman Ryan Frazier pointed out following Tuesday's vote that the newly adopted ordinance does allow for an appeal of variances.
A large crowd that jammed the administration offices in downtown Tazewell erupted into applause after the so-called ridgeline protection ordinance was passed. The motion to approve the tall structure ordinance was made by vice chairman David Anderson ..."The people in my district have spoken very, very clearly," Anderson said. "And it has been overwhelming. Ninety percent of the people in my district want to see a ridgeline ordinance. I can't go against the will of my people."
A proposed wind farm project might be dead in Tazewell County. The future looks bleak for the project after the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to prohibit development of tall structures on the county's scenic ridgelines. "I think this proposed tall structure construction carries with it too much public controversy and too little public revenue," said Supervisor Mike Hymes, who cast the deciding vote on a divided board.
The passage of a tall structure ordinance Tuesday by the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors has left the fate of a wind turbine farm for East River Mountain in Limbo. The supervisors voted 3-2 to approve the so-called ridgeline protection ordinance.
After 15 months of debate, studies and public input, the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors made their decision on the Ridge Line Ordinance. The ordinance passed in a 3-2 vote. David Anderson, Jim Campbell, and Mike Hymes voted for it while Seth White and John Absher voted against it.
According to an advance copy the Tuesday's printed agenda for the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, the board will discuss at 7:55 p.m. and consider the approval of an ordinance to regulate the construction of tall structures on certain ridgelines. If approved by the board, the ordinance would effectively prohibit Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America from constructing large-scale wind turbines along the ridgeline of East River Mountain.
Highland New Wind Development has said for months it does not have to do anything about its proposed 400-foot towers' visual impacts on a nearby Civil War battlefield. This week, the State Corporation Commission hearing examiner agreed. Virginia's Department of Historic Resources had complained the company was not meeting a condition of its permit for the industrial wind energy utility planned in Highland County.
Laurel Fork, the protected stream in western Highland, might be seriously affected by the industrial wind facility planned on Allegheny Mountain, county citizens contend. They have asked the state Department of Conservation and Recreation to take another look at the potential impacts, and include public participation in a more thorough review.
A complaint that a proposed wind farm in Highland County will ruin the view from a nearby Civil War battlefield should be dismissed, a hearing examiner with the State Corporation Commission ruled Monday. The recommendation, which now goes to the full SCC, appears to give a green light for developers of the first commercial wind farm in Virginia.
Judging by the early success the newly created Virginia Offshore Wind Coalition has had in attracting support from private industry and the political world, it's clear just about everyone wants to stake a claim in the rush to develop a multibillion-dollar wind-generated energy industry off the Atlantic coast.
Tazewell County officials say they will attempt to make a decision Feb. 2 on a controversial wind turbine farm for East River Mountain. However, they aren't guaranteeing at this point that the board will be able to reach a consensus decision on the proposed ridgeline construction ordinance at the Feb. 2 meeting.
Members of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors are considering a ridge line ordinance that would restrict the development of tall structures along certain protected ridge lines, including Burkes Garden and East River Mountain. Local aviators who use airplanes for business travel say they are concerned that the proposed wind farm could inhibit plans to create a second flight path for landing at the Mercer County Airport.
After being immersed in the windmill debate via our newspaper for more than a year - and openly looking at the issue from both sides - I personally do not support the project. But it's not my call to make - it is a decision that should be decided by the residents of Tazewell County. At the public hearing on the project, 71 individuals spoke in favor of the ridgeline ordinance, while 18 spoke against it. That's an overwhelming anti-windmill majority.
At a work session Monday, supervisors authorized the Bedford County Planning Commission to begin drafting a set of rules on small wind energy systems for the county. ...anything above 80 feet would be unfeasible for small wind turbine owners. "I guarantee you'll never see a commercial wind farm in Bedford County," Henderson said. "You'll have interest but you're not going to be inundated with requests."