Articles from Virginia
"Dominion has invested a significant amount of money in property in Tazewell County and based on the current pro business political climate in Richmond and Washington regarding wind energy I knew it was just a matter of time before the project was moved back to the front burner," Hymes said.
"I am certainly saddened by the fact that I see this in the newspaper and that they are coming back and operating as they are," Dr. Teresa Paine, a member of the Mountain Preservation Association, said of Dominion's announcement that it will be the sole developer of the proposed Bluestone River Wind Farm. "I think they are going to take advantage of this county for their own benefit."
Dominion Resources announced Wednesday that it is acquiring 100-percent ownership of a 2,600 acre tract of land on East River Mountain for the purpose of developing the proposed Bluestone River Wind Farm. A deed transferring the full ownership of the property to Dominion will be recorded today.
County officials are in the process of considering provisions to also allow utility scale wind energy systems with a conditional-use permit in the business and industrial zoning districts, Planning Director Jim McGowan said.
People seeking a state permit to develop small wind-energy projects in Virginia may receive a quicker answer from the Department of Environmental Quality, thanks to new authority given to the agency. But that doesn't mean major wind projects, whether offshore or on land, will sprout in Virginia any faster than they otherwise would.
Virginia officials asked the department to consider allowing turbines off its coast after receiving two unsolicited proposals last year. One of the interested parties is French company AREVA, which builds wind turbines in Germany and plans to build nuclear reactor parts in Virginia.
The ordinance allows residents to have up to two wind turbines per tax map land parcel at no more than 100 feet each and 35 feet for agricultural land. The reasoning behind two windmills is that one will more than sufficiently power a home and two will more than sufficiently power a farm operation. Any more than two windmills will generate a commercial amount of power.
By a 4-2 vote Wednesday, the executive committee of the Sierra Club's Roanoke chapter voted to conditionally endorse a plan to build up to 18 turbines on Roanoke County's tallest mountain. Shortly afterward, Vice Chairwoman Holly Hartman resigned in protest, complaining that the group's leadership stifled dissenting opinions during four months of deliberation.
Mineral County Commissioners once again heard from both sides of the wind farm issue as they gathered information this week in regard to the independent consultant required to conduct a study of what it would take to decommission - or dismantle - the turbines at Pinnacle Wind Farm once they have outlived their usefulness.
It is typically more expensive than conventional energy sources, and it is not always available when you need it, said Emil G. Avram, director of generation business development for Dominion Resources Services Inc.
Support from the coalition is contingent on the developers obtaining approval from regulatory agencies that include the Federal Aviation Administration and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Some residents of Poor Mountain have voiced concerns.
As of Jan. 1, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will accept applications for wind power projects. Currently, applicants go through the State Corporation Commission. And cases will be decided within 90 days, compared with the years it took for the state's first permitted wind farm.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has proposed regulations for a Permit by Rule for so-called "small wind energy projects." The proposed regulations fall well short of satisfying the DEQ's legislative mandate to "include conditions and standards necessary to protect the commonwealth's natural resources."
An e-mail from the Southwest Virginia Business Development Association on Monday, claims the group will commission an "an independent study of the advantages and disadvantages of this specific proposal, in this place, at this time."
Oil giant BP broke the rules in Botetourt County. A company official admits they built a 198 foot tower last year without permission.
"We are in a critical spot right now," said Elizabeth Salerno, director of industry data and analysis for the association. "It's sort of a do-or-die moment for the industry." She said a struggling economy is one reason why investors have grown more reluctant to put money in projects like the Highland County wind farm, which has an estimated $80 million price tag. An unrelated preliminary proposal by a separate company calls for 18 windmills atop Poor Mountain in Roanoke County.
All is quiet at the site on Allegheny Mountain. Heavy equipment and construction trailers are no longer parked at HNWD owner Mac McBride's property on Red Oak Knob and Tamarack. Highland residents have been wondering for months what's going on, and this week, supervisor Robin Sullenberger called the company's attorney, John Flora, to find out.
This is to dispute recent propagandized information provided to area citizens from a green money-motivated industry posing as a green energy hero. A Chicago-based corporation, Invenergy, proposes to lay claim to our area mountain winds, beginning with 18 industrial-sized wind turbines on Roanoke County's Poor Mountain.
The bulk of the Cool Cities Coalition talking points are based on "coal mining: bad; wind turbines: good." This rhetorical trick is the fallacy of false choice, as in "it's better to drink bleach than gasoline," while neglecting alternatives, such as drinking water, whisky or nothing at all. The coalition can't prove "wind turbines: good."
Matthew Broughton, an aviation lawyer and president of the IFR Pilots Club in Roanoke, said the wind turbines would create a hazard to navigation, particularly when the condition are IFR. Aircraft on IFR approaches to Roanoke usually use runway 6, and Broughton and other pilots say the approach path would take them too close to wind turbines.