Library from Virginia
Four of the five Roanoke County supervisors put in place a wind-energy policy Tuesday night that they say will protect residents and guide the county with future development. The fifth board member, Ed Elswick, said the board hadn't limited wind development enough.
A proposed zoning ordinance for industrial or commercial scale windmills hangs before the supervisors at their meeting tonight. Each of the five supervisors said recently that they plan to pass it, perhaps with some changes, as a way to protect residents.
Say what you will about the evil fiends who run power companies, they are not stupid people. So it boggles the mind that a corporation as ostensibly rapacious as Dominion would pass up the opportunity to reap the obvious riches from doing as environmentalists wish. Could there be more to the issue than they are letting on? There could. Let's start with some basic facts.
Leaving aside the questionable economics, inefficiency and massive tax subsidies required to induce investment in wind turbines, there are several other concrete -- and local -- reasons why the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors should vote against an ordinance allowing and encouraging industrial-scale wind turbines.
The petition calls on Floyd County to adopt ridgeline protection. The goal is to prohibit structures as tall as a typical wind turbine, said Dave Dixon, who like Boothe lives in the Beaver Creek Road area north of 3,200-foot Wills Ridge.
During question-and-answer and breakout sessions, citizens asked U.S. Forest Service staff to remove any proposed areas for wind energy development from the plan. Currently, the draft would allow applications for wind projects to be submitted on about one-half of the forest.
A long ride on a dusty Pasquotank County farm road - a right after the tractor shed, a left at the edge of the bean field - eventually leads to a recently harvested wheat field two miles from the nearest paved road.
Ken Jurman, renewable energy program manager at the state Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, predicted that onshore wind power development "is not going to be a huge deal in Virginia." That could change if federal officials decide to liberally permit wind turbines in national forests, but he called that unlikely.
No company has formally applied to build such turbines -- which can be well more than 400 feet in height, visible for miles and most likely targeted for ridgelines. But Chicago-based Invenergy has announced plans for 18 on Poor Mountain and received Federal Aviation Administration approval for all but three.
"Hundreds of soldiers lost their lives on this battlefield. While I understand the imperative of energy independence, I also believe there are places where the benefits [of power generation] are not worth the trade-off, and this is one of those places."
Once again, the Allegheny Highlands is gearing up to debate the merits of commercial wind energy - this time for a project on Shenandoah Mountain. Solaya Energy LLC has been monitoring wind resources along a five-mile stretch of the ridgeline there to determine whether it‟s a good site for roughly 23-25 industrial wind towers. At this point, the company believes the location has strong potential.
It's too soon to tell how this project might evolve, but there's no doubt Pendleton is no longer as vulnerable to the corporate push on wind power as it used to be. An informed citizenry makes all the difference. There's not a full-time farmer in these mountains who wouldn't understand and sympathize with the Cow Knob families' desire to hang on to their land. ...But as much as we get their motives, we also know they're setting themselves up for a costly, protracted battle.
Windsor Hills District Supervisor Ed Elswick, who represents the only community in the county where a company has expressed a specific interest in a utility-scale wind farm, and Catawba District Supervisor Butch Church seemed most disturbed by the latest plan for regulations.
But Karr and other nearby residents have come to oppose the turbines. Among other things, they worry about noise, flickering shadows cast by the turning blades and the impact on views that comes with putting a 443-foot turbine -- taller than downtown Roanoke's Wachovia Tower -- on top of a ridgeline.
Large and utility-scale wind turbines will have to be at least a half-mile from the nearest occupied homes under proposed revisions to the Roanoke County zoning ordinance advanced Tuesday. The county planning commission tweaked a set of changes to the zoning code that it has been working on for more than a year and a half.
After the Virginia Department of Historic Resources complained to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) that HNWD failed to cooperate in an assessment of impacts to the battlefield, in 2010 the SCC took the position that it has no jurisdiction to address impacts across the border.
A project that will place a 55-foot wind turbine next to Central High School may need to find another location before it receives the approval of the Shenandoah County School Board.
"As Adams wrote, '. just because (an industry) bills itself as green and renewable does not mean it has no effect, or footprint, on the environment. It does. Land is disturbed. Trees are cut. Watersheds are changed. And wildlife and habitat areas can suffer serious consequences.
State regulators have approved scientific surveys for a test project that aims to build one of the first offshore wind turbines in the United States, in waters at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
Sullivan found the agency failed to follow its own recovery plan and based its removal of the squirrel from the list on other criteria. The law requires such decisions to be based on recovery plans, which cannot be revised without public input.