Articles from Virginia
If wind turbines are allowed to tower up to 680 feet into the sky from a Botetourt County mountaintop, they would be higher than the tallest ones currently in the United States. But should the county’s board of supervisors approve a request from Apex Clean Energy to build up to 22 modern windmills as tall as a 50-story building, it wouldn’t necessarily set a new record.
The commissioners are set to consider an ordinance and permit amendment that would allow Charlottesville-based Apex Clean Energy to move ahead with a wind farm powered by turbines of up to 680 feet tall.
What we see on your website and advertised are the changes that Apex has requested. We do not see any other changes. So if we correctly understand your statement, none of the suggested changes made by Virginians for Responsible Energy were deemed suitable for updating the Wind Ordinance, and you and your staff are recommending that only the changes wanted by Apex should be made. This is stunning that the Planning Department appears to be willing to accept everything that Apex wants, without limit.
Christopher West’s commentary from Jan. 21 (“Botetourt wind farm should be approved”) was one-sided, misleading, and a poor attempt to spin a case for wind turbines in Botetourt County. It demands a response.
Critics of the sPower solar project in Spotsylvania County have raised concerns about its environmental impact.
Virginia’s shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy got a boost Tuesday when Gov. Ralph Northam announced a 40-acre lease to a European-based wind energy company.
The solar project in rural western Spotsylvania County is underway, and some neighbors are finding problems with how construction is being handled.
Hampton Roads has a chance to create thousands of jobs and attract a potential multibillion-dollar industry to the region. The only question now is whether regional stakeholders are up to the task.
A renewable energy company has revised its plan to build wind turbines on a Botetourt County ridgeline, making them nearly 700 feet tall. The latest proposal by Apex Clean Energy exceeds the maximum turbine height of 550 feet approved nearly three years ago and would require an amended permit from the county’s board of supervisors.
The agreement also provides a long-sought purchaser of 75 megawatts of electricity to be produced by wind turbines built by Apex, a Charlottesville company that obtained all of the permits needed for the project two and a half years ago. Since then, Apex has not begun construction while it has searched for a utility or other buyer to make the project commercially feasible.
You won't be able to see them from shore, but travel far enough east off the coast of Virginia Beach and you'll soon find two wind turbines — each about the height of a 40-story skyscraper — generating electricity that will power thousands of homes. On Monday, the people behind the wind turbines ceremonially broke ground on the project, heaving shovels of sand 27 miles west on the shore of Camp Pendleton.
After meeting with both sides and reviewing reams of documents, we’ve determined that the rancorous year-long debate over a proposed 6,350-acre solar power plant that has pitted Concerned Citizens of Spotsylvania County, a small local grassroots group, against a large, out-of-state corporation comes down to this: the project is way too big for western Spotsylvania County, and there are too few benefits to county residents to offset this major deficiency.
Residents who live around the proposed site in the Wilderness area of western Spotsylvania have aggressively opposed the project, saying it is too big, includes too many unknown risks and would bring no benefits to the county. The company has, in turn, aggressively countered residents with experts who deem the project safe and beneficial to the county.
A consultant for the county determined there “is no heat island,” but believes temporary heat spikes could happen with the Spotsylvania facility. That finding led staff and the Planning Commission to recommend 350-foot setbacks between solar equipment and property lines. Staff recommends these setbacks only for properties with houses, while the Planning Commission recommended them for the entire property. SPower says those setbacks would negatively impact the project plans. The company is seeking 100-foot setbacks from property lines and 350-foot setbacks from homes.
"This is huge. This is a tremendous victory for national parks and public lands," said Pamela Goddard, senior regional director for the NPCA's Mid-Atlantic region. "The court has found that if anyone wants to build a major infrastructure project, they must follow the law. So it's a victory for our parks and public lands."
The Planning Commission recommended denial of two of the three sections, one of which would produce 400 megawatts and comprise 5,200 acres. The entire proposed project would cover about 6,300 acres, but the commission backed only a 245-acre segment.
The sPower plant would consume 10 square miles of designated forest lands. That is half the size of Manhattan, and larger than the entire city of Fredericksburg. The four larger solar power plants are located in the desert of the U.S. Southwest, far from any residential areas. The project is just plain wrong for Spotsylvania on several levels.
A company called S-Power wants to build a massive solar energy center on 6,000 acres ...More than half of the land would be covered with solar panels. "This would be the fifth largest solar plant in the United States. ...All 10 of (the largest of) these are nowhere near a residential area."
Since 2005, wind turbine projects have been proposed by other developers in Southwest Virginia, including the counties of Highland, Roanoke and Tazewell. All of the plans eventually stalled. ...to some degree, all of them ran into opposition from nearby residents, who said giant turbines on ridgelines would mar scenic landscapes, make too much noise and produce harmful shadow flickers.