Library filed under General from West Virginia
A challenged $300 million wind farm proposed for a site in Grant County is a public utility immune from any lawsuit seeking to stop its construction, state Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin said. Benjamin disagreed with a majority opinion filed by the court to allow a lawsuit filed by a group of homeowners to proceed. The wind farm is to include 200 turbines spread over 10 miles. The Supreme Court's 4-1 decision overruled a Grant Circuit Court judge's dismissal of the lawsuit.
Despite an ongoing court challenge, developers expect to connect the NedPower Mount Storm wind farm to the state's power grid by this fall. NedPower's Dave Myers says turbines will begin producing power as they're hooked up one at a time come October. Right now, he says, developers are putting up 300-foot towers, installing equipment and doing other work on 82 turbines. Shipments of the turbine's 150-foot blades are expected to begin soon.
Liberty Gap Wind Force has decided not to ask the state Public Service Commission to reconsider its decision to deny a siting application for a wind turbine facility on Jack Mountain. Liberty Gap attorney Anthony P. Tokarz informed PSC Executive Secretary Sandra Squire on Thursday that the company would not file a petition for reconsideration. Tokarz did not make any other comment. Developers Have Options Frank Maisano, spokesman for a coalition of wind developers in West Virginia, said Liberty Gap still has two alternatives: to appeal to the state Supreme Court within 30 days or to refile the application. "That is still an option," Maisano said of the second choice.
Nedpower's continuing blundering puts them in strong contention as the World's Worst Wind Project. If it was not so sad it would be funny. Their grasp of a what a carbon neutral foot print is would make Al Gore cringe. Here's the easy "How to run a wind farm project like Nedpower" 20 point check list:
The latest findings are that three turbines located at the intersection of the Grass Ridge road and the local access road shown above are almost certainly within 800 ft of at least one residence. As shown in the map diagram above.
It isn’t over by a long shot, but residents of Pendleton County, W.Va., who banned together to argue against industrializing Jack Mountain have a lot to be proud of. In the course of nearly three years, the very grass roots group Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County gathered reams of research, raised thousands of dollars, and successfully made the point that Liberty Gap LLC and its parent company, U.S. Wind Force LLC, should not be allowed to ignore the potentially damaging effects their 50-megawatt wind utility could have on the environment and quality of life for residents here who have little to gain from the project — and much to lose.
The state of West Virginia needs to step in and demand answers from Nedpower. First, their destruction of five miles of state road needs to be paid for. Next clarification of the Spanish turbine purchase, how many turbines are they now planning to install? And then last but not least, the illegally sited turbines that are in breach of federal siting requirements - when will they be removed or relocated? Shell Oil executives should rightly be very nervous, and the state executives should be monitoring the situation to ensure the State is not left with a massive clean-up operation if Shell Oil pulls out aburptly.
In rejecting the application, the Commission cited specific deficiencies including (1) fundamental inadequacy of a required 5-mile radius map characterizing the surrounding area, (2) failure to address historical and cultural impacts, and (3) inadequate evidence regarding viewshed, noise and endangered bat species. The Order stated thatthese deficiencies alone provided sufficient grounds to reject the application. The Order also provided a long list of other areas where it was felt that the application was adequate.
The West Virginia public service commission has rejected "U.S. Wind Force's" application to build wind turbines along Jack Mountain. "I would say the basic majority are opposed to 'em because of the beautification issue," Mary adds. And now the mountains that reign high above Pendleton County will remain clear. "Good ridance...good ridance to a bad idea." So it looks like the battle is over for now, the wind farms not going up here in Pendleton County however the developer U.S. Wind Force says they're going to review their options.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The state Public Service Commission says a developer can't build a wind farm in Pendleton County because its application lacks information on several key issues, including the project's impact on cultural resources and noise. In an order released Friday, the PSC rejected Liberty Gap Wind Force LLC's application for a permit for the proposed 50-turbine Liberty Gap wind farm. It was the second setback for the wind industry in West Virginia in less than a month. On June 8, the state Supreme Court revived a lawsuit challenging a wind farm proposed for Grant County.
By the reasons set forth in this order of Jun 22, 2007, the West Virginia Pubic Service Commission refused to issue a siting certificate to Liberty Gap Wind Force, LLC (Liberty Gap) to construct a wind turbine electric generating facility (Project) in Pendleton County, West Virginia. The applicant, US Wind Force, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, had proposed constructing up to 50 wind turbines. The total output of the project would be up to 125 megawatts.
Earlier this month the State Supreme Court sided with local residents in Grant County who are trying to stop a wind power project on Mount Storm. The Supreme Court sent the lawsuit back to Circuit Court where the case had been dismissed. But even as the lawsuit moves forward, the wind power project is taking shape.
Thanks for publishing Congressman Molohan's rebuttal to your article. He is right. I find it hard to believe that, after all the facts and truths about wind energy that have been revealed during the past 2-3 years, that somebody at HNN would approve the initial story that you published.
My basic position on wind energy in our state is that before decisions are made on building industrial turbines across our mountain ridges, we should have a good idea of what the costs as well as the benefits of those projects will be to West Virginians, both now and in the future. There can be honest disagreements about what those costs and benefits will be, and how they should be weighed. But I hope no one would disagree with the proposition that the decisions to be made on wind turbines - which raise the prospect of permanently altering the face of our State - should be made in a fully informed, considered way. To that end, I believe the immediate need is for there to be a serious, public discussion of wind energy in this State. Members of the news media can play an important part in this discussion, but only to the extent that they report the facts, study the issues carefully, and issue thoughtful commentaries -- rather than merely publishing industry talking points.
Wind-power companies have gotten a stormy reception in West Virginia, but they say they have no intention of giving up on the state. "We've had long delays before" in other states, says Dave Groberg of Invenergy LLC, whose plans to build in Greenbrier County have been held up for 2 1/2 years. "This is up there with the top two or three, and before we're done I'd expect it to be the longest." Despite all that, Groberg said, the wait will be worth it. "West Virginia is a very good site for a wind project," he said. "And we believe that once the process has run its course, we'll see the project running."
The high court heard the appeal during its LAW Day program in Hampshire County in late April when attorney Richard Neely of Charleston argued on behalf of the residents and Samuel Brock of Charleston argued on behalf of NedPower. Supreme Court Justices Robin Davis, Elliott Maynard, Larry Starcher and Joseph Albright disagreed with Jordan, saying in the opinion, written by Maynard, that the residents were entitled to their day in court on the nuisance complaint and that the PSC's only jurisdiction was in siting the project. Supreme Court Clerk Rory Perry said that the case will return to the circuit court jurisdiction where new proceedings will be held.
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."
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.
Wind developers also covet those ridge tops, but for different reasons. It's an opportunity for them to make money - risk-free and at taxpayer expense. While there's nothing unusual about businesses scrambling to take advantage of government handouts, the justifications of the wind developers for getting this special kind of treatment need a dose of informed public scrutiny. Indeed, industrial wind development in general could use a major reality check.
Excerpts below are from the May 16, 2007 Proposed Order of WV PSC denying Liberty Gap's application for CPCN (siting permit) for 50 wind turbine project atop Jack Mtn in Pendleton County: