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Mayor, council endorse wind turbine project

The Keyser Mayor and City Council Tuesday night formally endorsed the proposed 23-turbine Pinnacle Wind Farm, as company officials announced that a local public hearing is expected to be conducted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission sometime before July 1.

KEYSER - The Keyser Mayor and City Council Tuesday night formally endorsed the proposed 23-turbine Pinnacle Wind Farm, as company officials announced that a local public hearing is expected to be conducted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission sometime before July 1.

Councilman Dave Sowers, who invited officials from US WindForce to the council meeting, said it was time for the city to formally back a $125 million project that will generate an average of $432,000 in annual county taxes, create 150 construction and six permanent jobs, and help further the national movement toward "green" renewable energy.

"Mineral County Development (Authority) is pushing 'green, green, green,'" Sowers said.

Another major benefit from the wind farm, proposed for the crest of Green Mountain just west of Keyser, would be to strengthen NewPage paper mill, Sowers said. Mineral County's biggest taxpayer and a major regional employer, NewPage is a partner in the Pinnacle project, and will be able to burnish its green-energy credentials with the wind farm, Sowers said.

"If that helps NewPage so they can hire one more person, or 10 or 100 ... and increase sales, I feel we need to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

KEYSER - The Keyser Mayor and City Council Tuesday night formally endorsed the proposed 23-turbine Pinnacle Wind Farm, as company officials announced that a local public hearing is expected to be conducted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission sometime before July 1.

Councilman Dave Sowers, who invited officials from US WindForce to the council meeting, said it was time for the city to formally back a $125 million project that will generate an average of $432,000 in annual county taxes, create 150 construction and six permanent jobs, and help further the national movement toward "green" renewable energy.

"Mineral County Development (Authority) is pushing 'green, green, green,'" Sowers said.

Another major benefit from the wind farm, proposed for the crest of Green Mountain just west of Keyser, would be to strengthen NewPage paper mill, Sowers said. Mineral County's biggest taxpayer and a major regional employer, NewPage is a partner in the Pinnacle project, and will be able to burnish its green-energy credentials with the wind farm, Sowers said.

"If that helps NewPage so they can hire one more person, or 10 or 100 ... and increase sales, I feel we need to go with this ... ," Sowers said. "I just say it's a win-win situation."

Councilman Isaac "Sonny" Alt questioned a WindForce representative at the meeting about de-commissioning, or what happens when the turbines reach the end of their productive life, or are no longer used.

Jim Cookman, vice president of Project Management for WindForce, said the company takes out back-to-back 25-year leases with the property owners, and that the turbines would likely be upgraded over the years, so that they could conceivably last longer than 25 years.

As for taking down the towers, state law requires wind farm developers to establish a bonded escrow account to cover the cost of de-commissioning. If the project closes, or if the turbines are out of use for a period of six months, the bond can be tapped for removal costs.

Councilman William "Sonny" Rhodes noted that the towers also have extensive salvage value, including miles of copper power lines and tons of steel, which would likely compel their de-commissioning even aside from the bond.

Rhodes joined the rest of the council in unanimously endorsing Pinnacle, and further agreeing to draft a letter of support on behalf of the city to the PSC. Rhodes said Keyser is the first community in the region to "get on the train" in support of the wind project.

"I'm proud of this council," he said.

Cookman said PSC staff have put together a proposed timeline for consideration of the Pinnacle project. That timeline, which has yet to be approved by the PSC, calls for a public hearing to be held in the Keyser area sometime before July 1. A specific date will be announced in the near future.

Sowers also said that a form letter will be left in City Hall at the water-bill desk for area residents to use as a model if they would like to write in support of the Pinnacle project.


Source: http://www.newstribune.info...

MAY 27 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20452-mayor-council-endorse-wind-turbine-project
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