Library filed under Impact on Economy from West Virginia
In newspaper advertisements, ApCo says customers who sign up are "investing in a future of energy that's both clean and green." ...But ApCo has already agreed to buy the green power. ApCo contracted for 75 megawatts of energy from the Camp Grove Wind Farm in central Illinois and 100 megawatts from the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in western Indiana. ApCo already buys power from Summersville Hydro in West Virginia, and has plans to buy from the Beech Ridge Wind Energy project in Greenbrier County when it is finished. So what's the benefit if ApCo customers sign up, given that the company's already buying the green power?
Apparently hoping that a proposed agreement between the staff of the West Virginia Public Service Commission and Allegheny Energy would put a better face on the utility's proposed Trans-Allegheny Interstate Power Line project, the Hampshire County Commission received an e-mail request to reverse its opposition to the project. Commissioners Don Cookman, Steve Slonaker and Robert Hott, however, all agreed that would not happen.
The state Supreme Court has breathed new life into a lawsuit challenging a $300 million wind farm in the Eastern Panhandle. In a ruling issued Friday, the court said a Grant County Circuit judge had no legal basis to dismiss the suit and sent it back for more proceedings. The decision is a victory for the plaintiffs, a group of homeowners who live near the proposed NedPower Mount Storm wind farm in the Grassy Ridge area. The homeowners contend their property values will plunge if the 10-mile string of 330-foot-high-turbines is completed. The Supreme Court's action gives them a chance to prove that claim.
In a 4-1 decision, state Supreme Court justices said a Grant County judge was wrong to dismiss a complaint filed by a group of homeowners opposed to a huge wind power facility planned for a site nearby. Now a nuisance case against two companies that want to build the $300 million wind farm can go forward after a circuit judge dismissed the case last year. "Our decision in this case is merely that the (homeowners) have alleged sufficient facts to avoid dismissal on the pleadings," wrote Justice Spike Maynard for the majority in the opinion released today. "In other words, the (homeowners) should have their day in court. Beyond this, we offer no opinion on the ultimate success or failure of the (homeowners') claim."
Property values were at the center of a court case that pits homeowners against a planned $300 million wind farm in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle that one lawyer labeled a "brothel on top of the hill." The state Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that pits a group of property owners against NedPower Mount Storm LLC and its owner, Shell Windenergy Inc. The companies want to build a 10 1/2-mile string of 200 wind turbines along a ridge top in Grant County. Residents claim the project would severely damage the value of their property. The companies argue the 330-foot-tall turbines will not only bring economic gain to the area, but the homeowners' concerns have already been dismissed by the state Public Service Commission.
WV's Congressman Mollohan submitted a letter on July 26, 2006 to the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) concerning the Beech Ridge wind energy project proposed for Greenbrier County, WV by Chicago-based Invenergy, Inc. This wind energy developer successfully pushed through a windplant in Wisconsin nearby the Horicon Marsh - a globally-significant wildlife area and National Wildlife Refuge - despite the widespread outcry by national and local wildlife groups who opposed such close siting. Mollohan's letter points out that Invenergy disregarded recommendations by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for multi-year pre-construction studies regarding the project's potential impacts on migratory birds and bats. He also observed that although WV's one operating wind project in Tucker County has been the site of record-setting bat mortality due to collision with turbine blades, the project operator (FPL Energy) has cut off access to the site for scientific study or investigation, even by the National Research Council/National Academies committee charged by the U.S. Congress to study the environmental impacts of wind projects in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands (see footnote #2 in his letter).
Seven Grant County residents have filed suit to try to block construction of 200 giant wind turbines proposed near their homes. Jerome E. Burch and six other residents sued developers of the $150 million Mount Storm wind project. In their 14-page complaint, the residents allege that the NedPower Mount Storm LLC project will be a “nuisance” and “an eyesore” that creates excess noise and kills birds and bats. The suit also alleges that the project will generate little power but receive lucrative federal and state tax breaks.
To help shed light on key issues, this paper focuses on recent and pending “wind farm” developments in West Virginia.