Library filed under Impact on Landscape from Virginia
MONTEREY, Va. — Wes Maupin says he will move this spring to a 20-acre spread here in remote Highland County, a pastoral place where sheep outnumber people and where little has changed since his boyhood, when he fished the county’s mountain streams with his father. Mr. Maupin, a 52-year-old former corrections worker, does have one misgiving, though. Like many others in Highland, known for its rustic heights as Virginia’s Switzerland, he finds no joy in the prospect that these blustery Allegheny ridges could soon become home to the state’s first wind farm: 19 wind turbines, each taller than the Statue of Liberty, its pedestal included. “Any wind farm,” Mr. Maupin said, “would surely change the character of this county forever.”
Rick Webb's presentation on October 17 at the Energy Virginia conference provides a thought provoking analysis of the costs and benefits of industrial wind energy.
The first utility-grade wind farm proposed in Virginia is hailed by its supporters as clean energy that can help stem global warming and rising fuel prices. But mountaintop residents near the Highland County site worry about what the blades of 18 towers taller than the Statue of Liberty would do to their environment. That would include rare or endangered birds, bats, and a few other species, as well as a wild trout stream. Eleven state agencies have reviewed the Highland New Wind Development proposal and come up with a lengthy list of suggested studies, including an analysis of the cumulative impact of wind farms on the four-state Allegheny Mountain region. The State Corporation Commission, which has final say, will conduct a public hearing Oct. 30 in Richmond on the proposal by retired poultry processor Henry McBride of Harrisonburg. His attorney, John Flora, hopes the project can benefit from a federal tax credit that expires in 2007.
Q. Please state your name and position. A. My name is Charles Simmons and I have been retained to provide assistance to Highland Citizens in regard to the application of Highland New Wind Development, LLC to construct a wind generation facility in Highland County. Editor's Note:This testimony provides an excellent description of how a grid works- particularly the role of 'economic dispatch' and 'spinning reserves'. It also addresses the methodology for estimating emissions savings and numerous other topics of interest.
Virginia's environmental agency recommends that the developer of a proposed Highland County windmill project study the big turbines' effects on birds, bats and scenic views. The state Department of Environmental Quality passed its recommendations yesterday to the State Corporation Commission, which will approve or reject the project.
RICHMOND — Formal respondents in Highland New Wind Development’s case pending before the State Corporation Commission are adding to a long list of concerns expressed already by a variety of state agencies. Among those who have weighed in recently are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which expresses serious doubts about environmental reviews conducted thus far.
A Landscape Classification System report, maps and GIS files is now available as an aide to "environmentally responsible siting of utility-scale wind projects in Virgina." The report and associated materials was a collaborative product of Dan Boone, Judy Dunscomb, Rick Webb and Christina Wulf, who worked on this project on behalf of The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Society of Ornithology and Virginia Forest Watch. Rick Webb and Dan Boone have created a website - www.VAwind.org - to disseminate this report and related information. They "are guided by the Precautionary Principal, wherein if we have reasonable suspicion of harm, accompanied by scientific uncertainty, then we all have a duty to take action to prevent harm." They "remain hopeful that the wind industry will embrace the principle of precaution and stand as a role-model for other industries by taking strong and proactive steps to prevent environmental harm" and "intend to continue work on the Landscape Classification System and to promote effective assessment of environmental issues related to wind energy development."