Articles filed under Energy Policy from West Virginia
Coal River Mountain in Raleigh County may soon become the center of an energy battle that pits fossil fuels against non-fossil renewable sources. At issue is this: Should we develop coal resources now if that will destroy wind resources that can be harnessed forever? North Carolina-based community organizers Appalachian Voices decided to raise this question. The group contracted national wind development consultants WindLogics to analyze some likely wind resources in southern West Virginia.
Wind farming or strip mining? Which energy extraction method should be used on Coal River Mountain? Residents of Clear Fork, Marsh Fork and other Raleigh County areas, with the support of environmental and community organizations such as Coal River Mountain Watch, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Appalachian Voices and the Sierra Club, asked the Raleigh County Commission Tuesday to support a proposed wind farm, which they say offers more long-term economic, social and environmental benefits to the county.
On Jan. 31, The Recorder newspaper printed an interview that Judge Theodore "Ted" V. Morrison Jr. gave to Anne Adams, staff writer for the paper. He was one of three commissioners on Virginia's State Corporation Commission, which recently approved Virginia's first industrial wind project in Highland County over well-organized protests from residents and landowners. Morrison has been on the SCC for 19 years ...Morrison stressed the federal production tax credits are what make commercial wind facilities attractive, but the reality is the renewable electricity utilities will never substantially change the country's need for larger power plants.
Thanks for publishing Congressman Molohan's rebuttal to your article. He is right. I find it hard to believe that, after all the facts and truths about wind energy that have been revealed during the past 2-3 years, that somebody at HNN would approve the initial story that you published.
My basic position on wind energy in our state is that before decisions are made on building industrial turbines across our mountain ridges, we should have a good idea of what the costs as well as the benefits of those projects will be to West Virginians, both now and in the future. There can be honest disagreements about what those costs and benefits will be, and how they should be weighed. But I hope no one would disagree with the proposition that the decisions to be made on wind turbines - which raise the prospect of permanently altering the face of our State - should be made in a fully informed, considered way. To that end, I believe the immediate need is for there to be a serious, public discussion of wind energy in this State. Members of the news media can play an important part in this discussion, but only to the extent that they report the facts, study the issues carefully, and issue thoughtful commentaries -- rather than merely publishing industry talking points.
Rep. Alan Mollohan is proving refreshingly thoughtful and farsighted on one of the emerging issues facing West Virginia - the pros and cons of wind power. He makes a persuasive case that the state should regulate its newest energy industry now. On Tuesday, the 1st District congressman told a congressional subcommittee he is very concerned about the impact wind farms could have on the wildlife and natural beauty of the state......Mollohan is right. It's time to slow this heavily subsidized stampede.
Appalachian states lack strong and detailed guidelines to regulate the continued growth of wind power facilities along the Mid-Atlantic highlands, according to a new study by the National Academy of Sciences. A team of academy experts concluded that wind power can help offset the greenhouse emissions caused by coal and other fossil-fuel energy sources, but the projected growth of wind power in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania creates potential threats to bird and bat populations that are not fully understood, the academy study found. Windmill "farms" also can cause other environmental problems and create legitimate aesthetic concerns for local communities - ranging from damage to scenic vistas to noise and "shadow flicker," a strobe-like effect created by rotating turbines, the report found. "The United States is in the early stages of learning how to plan for and regulate wind-energy facilities," says the report, compiled by the National Academy's National Research Council. The report said the cumulative effects of continued growth in wind power are unclear, and that further study is needed.
Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, D-W.Va., told a House committee Tuesday about the dangers wind turbines in West Virginia and elsewhere pose to birds and bats. "In the past, West Virginia's natural resources were exploited without regard to the long-term environmental consequences, and I think it's imperative that this not be allowed to happen again," Mollohan told the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans during Tuesday's hearing, the first congressional hearing on the impact of huge wind turbines on wildlife. Mollohan also spoke about the size of the wind projects on West Virginia's mountain ridges.
States with renewable portfolio standards have generated growth in the renewable energy sector, but many of the Appalachian states don't have one. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New York all have some fairly progressive goals, but West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee don't have a state RPS and wind projects often ignite battles.
More than four years later, despite still more proposals from developers, the 44 giant windmills at the Mountaineer site on Backbone Mountain remain the only wind towers in West Virginia, although work on the NedPower site began last fall. Why the delay? There are a host of reasons, but Billy Jack Gregg puts it simply: public opposition.
Despite the continued emergence of the technology, business services and tourism industries, coal mining and manufacturing are still very important to West Virginia’s economy. Coal remains a viable and important energy source. In fact, this state contains an estimated 50 billion tons of coal reserves.
But Manchin's proposal went a step beyond talk and ideas, setting out a concrete way to begin attracting more money to development of ethanol, biodiesel, solar, wind or biomass electricity generation. “I've always been told the $35, $40 range (per barrel of oil) is where alternative fuels become viable” Manchin told The News-Record after a tour of Arch Coal's Black Thunder mine. “Let's find that benchmark ... I don't see another way.”
With wind farm development continuing to become somewhat of a household word along the eastern ridges of West Virginia, it’s imperative for Gov. Joe Manchin’s newly established Public Energy Authority to become familiar with the issues as quickly as possible.
...wind power can contribute only so much to energy independence. Its role should be appreciated, but not oversold......A more realistic expectation, some experts say, is that wind could supply 6 percent to 10 percent of the nation's need for electrical power. That would be a helpful contribution, but it will fall short of a panacea.
However, any reasonably intelligent, objective person willing to spend some time studying the issue will inevitably conclude that wind power will provide virtually no benefits to West Virginia, and that the costs and negative effects imposed by wind power on our citizens will be enormous. Here are a few facts to consider:
Peltz sees windmills as “a small piece of the puzzle,” with the major roles in the energy drama occupied by oil and coal.
CHARLESTON -- Gov. Joe Manchin proposed legislation for the special session that began Tuesday that would temporarily bar siting new wind farms near airports.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A national panel studying the emergence of wind farms in the Mid-Atlantic region learned Wednesday that West Virginia is still trying to develop effective ways to regulate the industry.
Wind farms in West Virginia will have to do more to show they’re complying with state and federal regulations under a ruling just issued by the state Public Service Commission.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Virginia Highlanders following the debate on the impacts of commercial wind turbine projects may want to head next door to West Virginia next Wednesday.