Library from Virginia
It was only a few years ago that habitat loss was front and center among causes for concern about the future well-being of the American ecological landscape. Not much has changed to allay this concern; sprawling development continues, and the alteration and loss of natural habitat is largely unchecked. What has changed is the focus of many mainstream environmental organizations. Concerns about the projected future effects of climate change have taken precedence over the immediate and observable effects of habitat loss.
Several additional companies have inquired about the possibility of building windmills in Tazewell County, officials confirmed Monday. Although Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America are planning a large-scale wind turbine farm for East River Mountain near Bluefield, other areas of interest for other wind energy companies have included Morris Knob, near Tazewell, and Burkes Garden, according to Board of Supervisors Chairman David Anderson.
Late last Friday, before a hearing scheduled for Tuesday this week, Highland New Wind Development submitted further analysis of its wind project to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. The hearing was set by the State Corporation Commission following a complaint from DHR that a condition attached to HNWD's state permit for Virginia's first wind utility were not being met. DHR said it believed the SCC's condition to "coordinate with DHR for guidance regarding the potential need for archaeological and architectural surveys, recommended studies and field surveys to evaluate the project's impacts to historic resources," had meaning, and that HNWD was not coordinating with the agency as ordered.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) has rescheduled a hearing to determine whether a wind energy company has complied with pre-construction conditions regarding protection of historic resources. The hearing, originally scheduled for October 12, will be held on November 11 at 10 a.m. The hearing will be available as a webcast from the SCC website. The Virginia Attorney General's Office, representing DHR, filed a motion on October 9 to reschedule the hearing, which was granted by hearing examiner Alexander Skirpan.
Virginia officials have long discussed placing wind turbines off the coast, but the first towers in the region are likely to appear farther south - in North Carolina's Pamlico Sound. Duke Energy and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently signed a contract to install one to three turbines in the sound west of Buxton and Avon as early as next year. The turbines would be seven to 10 miles from shore. The pilot project ...could position North Carolina as a leader in developing wind energy.
The SCC had scheduled the hearing on a complaint from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which had accused Highland New Wind Development of failing to consult with it on how the wind farm will affect the nearby Camp Allegheny battlefield. But on Friday, Highland New Wind provided two preliminary studies to the Department of Historic Resources, according to a motion filed with the SCC late in the day.
Albemarle County Planning Commission members sent a clear message Tuesday: The county should allow wind turbines. Turbines are prohibited in Albemarle, but the Planning Commission unanimously approved a resolution calling for the county to allow small power-generating wind turbines. However, some specifics about where turbines should be allowed and what restrictions should be established were left up in the air.
A long-awaited wind energy economic impact study for Tazewell County could be ready as early as next week. ...Following a five-minute recess in Tuesday's meeting, [County Administrator Jim] Spencer told media representatives that he was told by Springsted officials on the telephone that the wind energy study wouldn't be finished until mid-October.
York officials have taken the first steps toward crafting wind turbine regulations. At a Wednesday night Planning Commission work session, the five commissioners in attendance were unanimous in their support for regulations that would permit the use of wind turbines for generating electricity. During the lengthy discussion, commissioners differed on how regulations should be applied.
The company planning an industrial wind facility on Tamarack Ridge didn't want to talk about visual impact on Camp Allegheny when it seeks approval to build the 19 gigantic turbines. But a Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) hearing examiner ordered on September 23 that visual impact will be considered when the SCC hears arguments over the company's compliance with permit conditions.
The Planning Commission will consider during a work session next week whether York County should create a zoning ordinance allowing wind turbines in neighborhoods. ...Planning staff suggest proceeding slowly. "The lack of any first-hand, real-world experience with wind turbines anywhere in the region probably calls for a cautious approach," one document cautions.
While Virginia's State Corporation Commission starts hearing legal arguments this week about the actions of Highland New Wind Development, officials and citizens are telling Richmond officials that Camp Allegheny, the nearby battlefield, needs to be protected from the 19-tower project. ...Allegheny is part of an historic and scenic landscape that belongs to the American people Highland New Wind Development may be located in Virginia and Camp Allegheny in West Virginia, but it is the citizens of the entire country who stand to lose if the 400-foot tall, 285 foot wide turbines are allowed to be built where they are currently sited.
Highland New Wind Development filed a motion Friday, Sept. 18 to exclude any discussion of Camp Allegheny Battlefield from a state hearing originally set for Wednesday. Attorneys for HNWD, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the State Corporation Commission argued for an hour before SCC hearing examiner Alexander Skirpan in Richmond. Skirpan denied HNWD's motion, and rescheduled the original hearing on DHR's allegations against the developer for Tuesday, Oct. 13.
State regulators will consider the impact that a planned Highland County wind farm will have on a nearby Civil War battlefield, despite objections from the project's developer. A State Corporation Commission hearing examiner ruled Wednesday that a state agency could present evidence of the visual impacts the 400-foot-tall towers would have on Camp Allegheny, a historic battlefield just across the state line in West Virginia. A hearing has been set for Oct. 13.
The developers of a wind farm in Highland County will be required today to appear before the State Corporation Commission -- again. This time opponents claim that the wind mills, finally under construction, might be seen from the site of a Civil War skirmish. Even if the swooping blades are visible a mile or two away at Camp Allegheny, that isn't cause to halt the project. This objection has been raised before -- and addressed before.
The governor made his first formal step in developing offshore wind resources, saying in a news release today that he has requested the formation of a federal-state-local task force. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine sent a letter this month to the U.S. Department of the Interior requesting the formation of the task force to guide and facilitate the leasing process of federal waters off the Virginia coast to develop wind power.
A state agency has joined the fight against a wind farm in Highland County that could affect a Civil War battlefield. Developers say it's a nonissue, but longtime opponents of the wind farm say they want to preserve the area's beauty.
The boiling Tazewell County windmill controversy may turn into steam where it will either evaporate or become superheated. The Town of Bluefield, Va.'s tall structures ordinance would only affect those structures (including windmills) proposed to be erected within the area of the town's jurisdiction. There is another matter or two that needs to be given some thought. The town apparently has jurisdiction to the apex of the ridgeline but no jurisdiction south of that ridgeline in Tazewell County or Bland County.
If speed tests this year show that the wind is powerful enough, the school could buy a wind turbine to make electricity, said Bonnie Holliday, development director. "We sit in a very windy spot, so we might be able to have some great energy produced by the turbine and reduce our costs," she said. A number of homeowners in the region are feeling the same winds and thinking much the same thing.
Wind energy got the welcome mat and elk the boot Thursday before the Wise County Board of Supervisors. The board approved without discussion a zoning change to allow development of a wind energy project now under consideration by Virginia Dominion Power and BP Wind Energy. The two companies have been assessing the viability of erecting 50 to 60 wind turbines in the county along the Kentucky border along an area stretching north of Big Stone Gap to northwest of Pound.