Library filed under General from Virginia
A good precedent for regulation of the wind energy industry in Virginia was established by the State Corporation Commission when it issued a permit for the proposed Highland New Wind project in Highland County. The review process was systematic, and the permit included precautionary conditions based on the carefully considered recommendations of natural resources agencies and conservation organizations.
After two years of study, a group of scientists and energy experts has concluded that building a wind farm off Virginia Beach is feasible, would cost about $1 billion and could spur more than 1,000 "green" jobs over three years. ...The study is one of five alternative-energy initiatives being pursued by the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, based at Old Dominion University. Its chairman is Patrick Hatcher, an ODU professor, who also is leading another promising project -- turning algae into biodiesel fuel.
There is no timetable to review potential wind energy sites in Wise and Tazewell counties, a spokesman for Eastern Virginia utility Dominion said Monday. Dominion and its wind projects partner, BP Wind Energy North America Inc., are also mum on the number of sites under consideration or location of those potential wind turbine farms.
The beauty of East River Mountain is in jeopardy according to a group of citizens who are against the proposed wind turbine project. This group has grown from a group of 6 to a group of 150. They have a laundry list of reasons why they don't want industrial size wind turbines on our mountains.
Dominion Virginia Power and a subsidiary of the BP energy company are planning two wind-power projects in far Southwest Virginia. ...Rick Webb, a University of Virginia scientist who opposes the Highland project, says it's wrong to put windmills on scenic mountain ridges. He said he would feel better about the Southwest Virginia projects if they went on sites that had been used for mining: "My real objection is the pointless sacrifice of our remnant wild landscape."
The magnitude of these structures shocked our county officials but will they generate revenue of the same magnitude? "Land owners get their annual fees from what is produced. Then also the county would only be able to do the personal property tax. And a personal property tax would be on each individual wind turbine. And under personal property, it would depreciate each year too." says Supervisor David Anderson. The construction phase would create some revenue as well.
“I want to hear from the public,” Anderson said. “That is what I want to hear. I represent the Bluefield area, and I need their input. I want the people in my district to know what’s going on ... Hardly no one spoke at the first public hearing, and we didn’t act on it. “ Anderson’s plea for public input is vital — and much appreciated. All too often people do not speak up about public issues until it is too late. The issue of building large windmills along the crest of East River Mountain has the potential to blow into a furious debate.
Appalachian Power Co. customers may soon be able to write a larger check for the monthly bill to support the generation of electricity with wind, water and other renewable sources. The utility said the minimum investment will be $1.50 a month. A typical residential customer could elect to fully offset his electrical consumption with green energy by paying about $15 monthly.
Highlanders for Responsible Development remains committed to its watchdog role involving the Highland New Wind Development industrial wind facility, says HRD president Randy Richardson. "We remain concerned, we are not disappearing, we are going to keep an eye on it." Formed in August 2005 largely in response to the proposed wind turbine project, the non-profit organization continues to meet monthly and monitor wind-energy activity.
For a company that hopes to start construction on Virginia's first wind energy plant in the next few months, Highland New Wind Development appears to be dragging its heels. Recently, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation said it had not heard from the developer after requesting more information in its initial review. Last week, Virginia's Department of Historic Resources said it still awaits a view shed study, among other things, before it can offer recommendations for softening the impact of 400-foottowers on Highland County's tallest summit. In the last three months, updates from the developer to Highland's supervisors haven't yielded much new information. HNWD says it's still seeking investors, has not finalized a power purchase agreement, and cannot complete a final site plan because securing turbine equipment has become harder to do.
After reviewing thousands of pages of testimony and comments from numerous public hearings, Judges Mark A. Hoyer and Michael A. Nemec in a 364-page document said Allegheny Energy, through its transmission line subsidiary TrAILCo had "failed to carry the burden of truth" for the entire 240-mile project. "Based on our review of the entire record, we have concluded that little or no need for reinforcement in the Prexy service area presently exists," the judges wrote.
Oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens is being disingenuous, telling one thing to the American people and another to Congress. He has repeatedly said that no government help is needed to pursue his plan to build the world's largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle. Yet he is lobbying hard for extension of the Production Tax Credit and National Renewable Energy Zones -- essentially a huge tax shelter for wind industry investors and expedited eminent domain for transmission corridors. The real innovation here is the well-coordinated manipulation of public perception.
The first sentence in the Washington Post article, Wind is Given 2nd Look as Energy Needs Grow, gets right to the point: the energy industry has targeted western Virginia's forested mountains for industrial wind energy development. "Wind is catching fire" said L. Preston Bryant Jr. Virginia's secretary of natural resources. "It is literally all the rage." Although the Washington Post article highlights the "conflict within the environmental community" concerning this development push, it fails to provide much in the way of details concerning the basis for the objections.
Miles of mountain ridges hugging the state's western border could hold the key to Virginia's search for alternative energy sources. That is where developers are looking to build more than 100 wind turbines taller than the Statue of Liberty, side by side, on 18 miles of the George Washington National Forest. ...But the new push for wind energy in Virginia has highlighted a conflict within the environmental community. Some groups, which have long clamored for more renewable energy sources and encouraged wind power instead of a new coal-burning power plant in southwest Virginia, oppose the FreedomWorks project, the largest wind proposal in the state, because of the potential harm to plants and animals. "We are strong advocates for renewable energy and wind energy," said Glen Besa, director of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club. "But we would like to see it developed responsibly."
They're up and they're spinning. Dozens of wind turbines in Grant County are generating electricity, though they haven't been without problems. Crossing into Virginia, there's a proposal for about 130 wind turbines to be built in the George Washington National Forest, as well as a much smaller operation in Highland County. However, these projects haven't developed without some strong opposition. The process takes years. Now, phase one is almost complete, 80 turbines are spinning in Mount Storm, West Virginia. Still, some local homeowners, like Bruce Halgren, are challenging the project in court.
Fossil fuels such as coal and oil are costly for consumers and the environment. Efforts are being made in Virginia to look into alternative sources of power, but it's not a breeze. Dr. Paxton Marshall, a professor of electrical engineering at UVA says wind may not be the most practical option in Virginia. "We don't have a continuous, strong, steady wind in most of Virginia. The exceptions are offshore or on the shore line in the chesepeake area." Marshall says the best option for offshore wind power in Virginia is in the Virginia Beach area.
Highland New Wind Development cannot yet offer Highland County a site plan for specific plans on the proposed industrial wind facility because the company is still negotiating with potential investors for the project. John Flora, lawyer for HNWD, provided an update to the Highland County Board of Supervisors this past Tuesday. ..."All I can say is that we are talking to folks from Europe, people on the West Coast and people in the East, and we are still working hard on narrowing the field and I am still pretty confident we will have something for you at your August meeting, but I said the last time I was here we hoped to have it tonight, and we don't."
"The 20 percent wind energy by 2030 report has been released," he said. "It represents a roadmap to a very bright future for the next generation in terms of energy supply, in terms of jobs, in terms of opportunities, and we know that when power presents risks I hope you all take away (from) this set of presentations that there are risks and I hope that you take away that we are seriously striving to manage those risks. ...This week, [Rick] Webb responded. "Miles establishes himself as the one who determines what the facts are. What he doesn't emphasize with the 20 percent by 2030 roadmap is that in Virginia 90 percent of wind resources are offshore," he told The Recorder Wednesday. "Electricity benefits are outweighed by the environmental and other costs of ridgeline development.
Wind can be strong or weak, consistent or unreliable, sufficient to support wind generation or not. It all depends on location. Local support for wind can also be strong or weak, consistent or unreliable, sufficient or insufficient to support wind generation. It, too, depends on location. About 200 people from across Virginia converged at JMU for the second annual VWEC symposium on wind energy and their interest in the industry was about the only thing they had in common. Most, but not all, supported wind power development. And not all those in favor were willing to accept wind energy unconditionally.
People in Shenandoah County had the opportunity to hear both sides of the wind turbine debate Tuesday night at a public forum. They turned out to learn more about what potential impacts, good and bad, the turbines would have. Impacts to land, wildlife, and the local economy are just a few of the considerations. ... After about two hours, people left with much to consider. "Both of them brought up good points," says Kelley. "And, it's just something that I think is going to take some time to absorb everything."