Library filed under Impact on Landscape from West Virginia

Area site is touted for wind turbines; W.Va. company says Shenandoah Mountain good fit

Shenandoah Mountain is fit with high-quality breezes and a location near population centers, a necessary combination for wind farms such as the one being sought by a West Virginia firm, a wind expert said. ...Politicians will have their say, too, if the local project moves forward. Del. Todd Gil-bert, R-Woodstock, said his office would be making inquiries soon, but that more knowledge of wind energy is needed before he can form an opinion on it. "I'm one of the biggest proponents for trying to get off the dependence on oil," he said, "but the fact of the matter is, the most cost-efficient energy sources we have are traditional ones, not alternative ones."
1 Apr 2008

W.Va. residents also worry about turbines

One of my big concerns is that the publicity I see on television and in newspapers does not really reflect both sides of the issue. It makes the average viewer/reader who does not do his own investigation believe that there are no real problems other than that people don't want to look at them across our mountain tops. If the average person really understood the effects of the turbine installation and operation, there would be a lot more people objecting. Perhaps it sounds inappropriate for someone who lives in another county to be objecting to the turbines on Laurel Mountain. As the projects being proposed involve at least 8 counties, there will be a cumulative negative impact if they are approved.
9 Mar 2008

City hears debate on windmills

The debate over proposed windmills being placed in Randolph and Barbour counties came to the Elkins City Council meeting Thursday night. Although a proposed ordinance to express council's opposition to the AES' Laurel Mountain windmill farm project was on the agenda, council took no action. The resolution was not prepared for council to take a vote and a debate started within the crowd following a informational presentation by West Virginia Green Energy Alliance representative Joel Martin. "There has been a fairly focused campaign to distribute information that is not accurate," Martin said. "The project will not lead to a disaster on the mountains." ...Beckwith also asked Martin what affects the windmills would have on the ecology and environment. "I cannot guarantee that there will be no destruction," Martin responded.
7 Mar 2008

Is another wind battle in Pendleton County's future?

The Liberty Gap wind energy project planned for the border of Pendleton and Highland counties did not get approval from West Virginia's Public Service Commission last year, but that doesn't mean the company is giving up. According to Pendleton County residents opposed to the project, the developer is moving ahead, attempting to get its application rewritten for a better chance of approval. The West Virginia Public Service Commission had noted several deficiencies in the company's application, including insufficient information on historic resources, site maps, and environmental protect. The grassroots effort to stop the Liberty Gap project was spearheaded by Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County, and according to one of its members, Larry Thomas, it cost $87,000 to challenge the company's application. But Liberty Gap has regrouped and learned from its mistakes, and the next round might cost opponents as much as $250,000.
29 Jan 2008

Mountain Windmill Project Met With Mixed Opinions

The Laurel Mountain Preservation Association has been vocal at several governmental and public meetings regarding its opposition to the wind turbines. Members Art and Pam Dodd said the organization was formed in 2005 "to monitor and protect water resources and to promote an appreciation for the importance of the historical significance of the Battle of Laurel Hill." ..."Our group opposes the construction of wind turbines on the ridgetop of Laurel Mountain or any other mountain because, on a regional scale, the clear-cutting of large ridgetop areas for wind turbine construction reduces our groundwater recharge," the Dodds said. "The West Virginia Groundwater Protection Act states that over 90 percent of West Virginia residents rely on groundwater for their homes. The increased runoff to streams not only destroys headwater habitats and increases the potential for flooding, but also creates an imbalance in the water cycle that would lower our groundwater reserves forever."
16 Dec 2007

Mollohan criticizes wind power plan

Congressman Alan Mollohan sent an 11-page letter to the state Division of Energy officials last week, criticizing a new state plan for developing industrial wind power sites, primarily in the state's northeastern counties. State plans "entirely disregard the serious environmental concerns" raised by a number of critical studies prepared by the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Government Accountability Office, said Mollohan, D-W.Va. Citing state marketing efforts touting the state's scenic vistas and calm pace, he asked, "How do rows of 400-foot-high industrial and wind turbines, spread out over thousands of acres of ridgelines, fit into that picture?" ...James Webb, a University of Virginia research scientist, recently found that the Mountaineer Project in Tucker County operated at only 9 percent of its capacity during the month of August. Webb calculated it would typically take nearly 3,000 huge wind turbines to match the power output of one conventional electric power plant.
4 Nov 2007

It has been a trying time for some Grant County residents

The Grant County commissioners focused much of their attention at their recent public meeting on taking action to address the concerns of residents in the mountaintop region of the county related to road damage and threatened water resources. Commissioner Jim Cole said that the residents have had their patience pushed to the limit during the last few months. "Their water supply has been threatened by Wolf Run's application for a mining permit and they have had to wait hours with the roads blocked while equipment is transported to Grassy Ridge by NedPower/Shell WindEnergy," he said. The county commission has gone on record opposing the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection granting a permit to Wolf Run. However, the commissioners noted that they need to continue to do whatever else is necessary to ensure the residents have safe, potable drinking water.
8 Aug 2007

WV PSC Order to deny Liberty Gap wind project

Ord20070622154826_thumb By the reasons set forth in this order of Jun 22, 2007, the West Virginia Pubic Service Commission refused to issue a siting certificate to Liberty Gap Wind Force, LLC (Liberty Gap) to construct a wind turbine electric generating facility (Project) in Pendleton County, West Virginia. The applicant, US Wind Force, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, had proposed constructing up to 50 wind turbines. The total output of the project would be up to 125 megawatts.
22 Jun 2007

Mollohan is right about wind

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.
4 May 2007

Representative Mollohan's Letter to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia

Mollohanjul26_thumb WV's Congressman Mollohan submitted a letter on July 26, 2006 to the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) concerning the Beech Ridge wind energy project proposed for Greenbrier County, WV by Chicago-based Invenergy, Inc. This wind energy developer successfully pushed through a windplant in Wisconsin nearby the Horicon Marsh - a globally-significant wildlife area and National Wildlife Refuge - despite the widespread outcry by national and local wildlife groups who opposed such close siting. Mollohan's letter points out that Invenergy disregarded recommendations by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for multi-year pre-construction studies regarding the project's potential impacts on migratory birds and bats. He also observed that although WV's one operating wind project in Tucker County has been the site of record-setting bat mortality due to collision with turbine blades, the project operator (FPL Energy) has cut off access to the site for scientific study or investigation, even by the National Research Council/National Academies committee charged by the U.S. Congress to study the environmental impacts of wind projects in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands (see footnote #2 in his letter).
26 Jul 2006

Grant residents sue to block wind turbine project

Seven Grant County residents have filed suit to try to block construction of 200 giant wind turbines proposed near their homes. Jerome E. Burch and six other residents sued developers of the $150 million Mount Storm wind project. In their 14-page complaint, the residents allege that the NedPower Mount Storm LLC project will be a “nuisance” and “an eyesore” that creates excess noise and kills birds and bats. The suit also alleges that the project will generate little power but receive lucrative federal and state tax breaks.
30 Nov 2005

'They are coming'

I walked on my normal walk in the woods one day and looked up to the top of the mountain. Just several months before it had been a picturesque view of wilderness beauty ... the kind that attracts tourists and creates much of the state's income. Now, it was lined with these tall mechanical monsters, towering over the trees of an old forest. I am not talking about the quaint and charming windmills of Holland here, we are talking about metal and flashing lights and a size that miniaturizes the grand forest beneath it.
28 Nov 2005

Residents speak out against wind farm

More than 700 Greenbrier County residents have sent letters to the state Public Service Commission, opposing a plan to build one of the largest wind-power projects east of the Mississippi River. The residents say the wind turbines will spoil mountain views, decrease property values, kill bats and birds, hurt tourism and ruin hunting and fishing in the area. They predict the wind turbines will catch fire during lightning strikes. And they say the turbines will interfere with emergency radio communications.
23 Nov 2005

Mountaineer (WV) After (1)

Mountaineer_after_thumb This is a post-construction photo in natural color covering the same area shown in Mountaineer (WV) Before. The yellow circles are in the same locations as above to allow accurate comparisons. It is somewhat difficult to pick out the actual wind turbines but their prominent shadows are easily discernable. They are black lines pointing roughly NE except the two in the SW corner, which point WNW in this composite photo. The 44 turbines of the Mountaineer project were manufactured by NEG Micon and imported from Denmark. They are 345 feet tall and each turbine can generate up to 1.5 MW when the wind is blowing optimally. However, because the winds blowing over Appalachian ridges are intermittent and only occasionally ‘optimal’, a realistic estimate of the annual average generating potential for a 1.5-MW turbine in this region would be less than 0.5 MW, a 30% capacity factor. Jon Boone's Comments regarding Mountaineer (WV) Before , Mountaineer (WV) After (1)(this image), and Mountaineer (WV) After (2). The first two images (i.e. Before and After 1) show the extensive forest-interior habitat that existed before the windplant was constructed and the resulting impacts following construction in late 2002. The third image (i.e. After 2) shows the southern half of the windplant (about 22 turbines) and identifies the boundaries of the study area for the pre- vs. post-construction analysis. It also shows that the study area I chose was fairly representative of the existing habitat conditions at this windplant and gives a better view of the magnitude of the development’s impacts on forest and especially forest-interior habitat. [Forest interior is the type of habitat that exists at more than 100 meters from a clearing. Forest interior is required for the survival of certain species and is the type of habitat most easily destroyed by any form of development.] On the portion of the site that I analyzed, the construction of this wind factory cleared over 42 acres of forest for the string of eight turbines (out of 44) that I analyzed. The extensive fragmentation of habitat resulting from the 50-ft-wide service road and the 5+ acres (average) that were bulldozed to erect each turbine caused the loss of over 150 acres of forest-interior conditions within this once-contiguous forest tract. My estimate is that a complete analysis of the entire project area, including 5.5 miles of ridgetop and 44 turbines, would find a total of nearly 200 acres of forest were cleared and over 750 acres of forest-interior habitat was lost following construction of the Mountaineer wind energy facility.
14 Jan 2005

Mountaineer (WV) After (2)

Mountaineer_after_(2)_thumb This is a wider view from the same photograph (Mountaineer (WV) After (1). The study area is shown by the rectanglular outline. Jon Boone's Comments regarding Mountaineer (WV) Before , Mountaineer (WV) After (1), and Mountaineer (WV) After (2)(this image). The first two images (i.e. Before and After 1) show the extensive forest-interior habitat that existed before the windplant was constructed and the resulting impacts following construction in late 2002. The third image (i.e. After 2) shows the southern half of the windplant (about 22 turbines) and identifies the boundaries of the study area for the pre- vs. post-construction analysis. It also shows that the study area I chose was fairly representative of the existing habitat conditions at this windplant and gives a better view of the magnitude of the development’s impacts on forest and especially forest-interior habitat. [Forest interior is the type of habitat that exists at more than 100 meters from a clearing. Forest interior is required for the survival of certain species and is the type of habitat most easily destroyed by any form of development.] On the portion of the site that I analyzed, the construction of this wind factory cleared over 42 acres of forest for the string of eight turbines (out of 44) that I analyzed. The extensive fragmentation of habitat resulting from the 50-ft-wide service road and the 5+ acres (average) that were bulldozed to erect each turbine caused the loss of over 150 acres of forest-interior conditions within this once-contiguous forest tract. My estimate is that a complete analysis of the entire project area, including 5.5 miles of ridgetop and 44 turbines, would find a total of nearly 200 acres of forest were cleared and over 750 acres of forest-interior habitat was lost following construction of the Mountaineer wind energy facility.
14 Jan 2005

https://www.windaction.org/posts?location=West+Virginia&p=3&topic=Impact+on+Landscape
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