Articles filed under General from West Virginia
A group of Mineral and Grant county residents who own property in the vicinity of the Nancy Hanks Memorial have asked the Mineral County Commission to petition Gov. Joe Manchin for a moratorium on the construction of any additional wind turbines in the state. Harriett Hartman, Bill and Leigh Burt, Joe McKenney, Frank Roleff and Greg Trainor all appealed to the commissioners Tuesday to do what they can to stop the construction of a wind farm along New Creek Mountain and the tip of the Saddle.
A group concerned about proposed wind energy development on Saddle Mountain says placing turbines there could alter the landscape of an area now recognized as the birthplace of Nancy Hanks Lincoln.
The Public Service Commission recently approved the 65-turbine wind farm on the Laurel Mountain Ridge between Randolph and Barbour counties. ..."They have to be maintained and they have to be taken down and money has to be provided for that," said Commissioner Elbon. "You know how we ended up with all the strip mines all over West Virginia. The state had to pay to have those things taken care of. This won't happen with the windmills."
As U.S. WindForce prepares to present its application to the West Virginia Public Service Commission, Dave Friend, vice president for sales and marketing, said the company is looking to do more with the community. "We've been working at the community level for a while," Friend said. "We formed a community advisory panel, which has a cross section from the Keyser, New Creek and Elk Garden area. The goal was to involve the community in our planning process."
Now these out-of-state wind energy corporations have discovered that our mountains hold an equally unique and valuable wind resource. These people describe how the Allegheny Front above Keyser is so perfectly suited for their industrial wind farm. ...There are power lines in the immediate vicinity to connect the turbines to the grid. The area is thinly settled so they don't have to worry about people living next to the turbines, and land is relatively cheap. Most local people were probably not aware of this (myself included) and now we are getting little offers of money to let this project go on.
US WindForce officials met Monday night to outline plans for a charitable fund the company plans to launch as part of its 23-turbine Pinnacle wind farm, but the meeting turned to the merits of the project itself, as residents rose to register their opposition. "I'm totally against putting 23 turbines on Green Mountain, for obvious reasons," said Keyser resident Mike Wilson. Wilson said the turbines, which will rise 418 feet above the crest of Green Mountain, just west of Keyser, will detract from the natural experience campers savor at Jennings-Randolph Lake's award-winning campground, "2 miles by air" from the turbines.
US Windforce has been hosting monthly meetings of the Community Advisory Panel since spring, when the company began its public outreach for the wind farm. Towering 418 feet, the turbines will rise along the crest of Green Mountain, from just north of the Pinnacle radio tower site, all the way to where the mountain drops down to the Potomac River near Keyser. ...The main topic of discussion Monday night will be the community benefit fund, which US WindForce plans to seed with annual donations of $20,000 for the life of the project, if the wind farm is approved.
According to Blanchard, McBride told DHR, "I can tell you right now, you're going to see them [the turbines]." Agency officials explained to McBride the DHR is not trying to stop his project, but they do need this information to evaluate it. "Mac couldn't seem to understand that," Blanchard said. "Mac is a developer, and he naturally wants the path of least resistance. He kept talking about how much it's going to cost." Blanchard said DHR officials told McBride the State Corporation Commission's order granting HNWD a permit stipulates the company is to work with DHR on these issues. "They told him what they needed," Blanchard said.
The question of how Invenergy would "decommission," or tear down, its $300 million Beech Ridge Energy wind farm came into question during Wednesday's state Public Service Commission compliance hearing A plan for decommissioning all of Beech Ridge Energy's 124 wind turbines slated for north-central Greenbrier County was one of 18 preconstruction conditions mandated by the PSC. Beech Ridge hired the Nebraska-based civil engineering firm HDR to prepare a "decommission report".
With final approval of a siting permit less than a week away, anti-windfarm activists are firing yet another round of legal salvos in their bid to stop the construction of 124 wind turbines slated for north-central Greenbrier County. State Public Service Commission hearings begin next Wednesday to determine if Beech Ridge Energy, owned by the Chicago-based company Invenergy, has complied with dozens of preconstruction terms that the PSC ordered when a conditional building permit was approved in 2007. ...Dave Buhrman said the Washington law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal has been hired to sue Beech Ridge over potential violations of the Endangered Species Act if construction goes forward.
Members of the US WindForce Community Advisory Panel met this week to review wildlife reports and other updates from the proposed Pinnacle wind power project planned for Northeast West Virginia. The Pinnacle project seeks to erect 23 turbines atop Green Mountain, running from the northern end of the Allegheny Wildlife Management Area, northward about 3 miles to the end of the ridgeline near the Potomac River. In development since 2003, the project is approaching the end of the planning stage, with WindForce officials planning to submit the application to the West Virginia Public Service Commission by December.
The environmental group, along with lead plaintiff Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, alleges in a lawsuit that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers overstepped its authority by permitting four southern West Virginia valley fills in direct violation of the Clean Water Act and the national Environmental Protection Act. That case, won by the plaintiffs in West Virginia southern district court, was heard Sept. 23 at the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. "This is just the latest in a continuing legal saga. We've been on this trip since about 1996," said Jason Bostic, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association.
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.
Before the day is out, upwards of 1 million folks across the nation are getting a glimpse of an idea generated by Coal River Mountain Watch to usher in a series of turbines in southern West Virginia as a means of cranking out wind-generated power. ..."We've been talking with several companies who are interested," Noerpel said Monday. "We've pitched it to several companies that are trying to move forward with this. A lot of wind companies are looking to come into Appalachia and setting up on our ridges."
And turbines are still something of a novelty for most of us, so the "not in my backyard" mentality hasn't yet set in when it comes to wind farms. In fact, as we reported in the Energy Journal, groups of ranchers in eastern Wyoming -- seeing an opportunity to make some money without significantly disrupting their ag operations -- have banded together to market their properties to wind energy developers. That, of course, could change. As turbines begin to spring up in more sensitive, pristine spots, or closer to residential areas, the novelty could wear off quickly.
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.
Justice Larry Starcher, who cast the lone dissenting vote in last month's landmark windfarm 4-1 decision, believes Greenbrier County property owners are getting the shaft in regard to the $300 million Beech Ridge Energy Windfarm. Starcher issued his two-page dissenting opinion last Tuesday and chided his colleagues for voting in favor of upholding two Public Service Commission decisions which gave Chicago-based Invenergy, the parent company of Beech Ridge, the green light to build over 100 wind turbines on forested ridges in northern Greenbrier County. ...Starcher said the case should have been "remanded to the Commission for further study," and he would have required Beech Ridge to "produce all of the legally required information about the impact of wind turbines on the neighboring property and aesthetic values."
Cookman and Friend explained that U.S. Windforce develops the wind farms, secures the land, obtains the rights of way and leases and applies for all the necessary permits, while Edison Emission Energy will actually acquire the turbines, have them assembled and operate the project. According to Cookman, U.S. Windforce is currently scheduled to make application for their permit from the West Virginia Public Service Commission in September. They should then have permit in hand, he said, by May 2009. With a possible groundbreaking in July 2009, he said operation could begin as early as May 2010.
On May 8th 2007, eleven citizens' groups filed a Sixty Day Notice of Intent to Sue regarding the company NedPower Mt. Storm, and its corporate owners Dominion Resources, and Shell Wind Energy. The Notice alleges violations of the Endangered Species Act, involving the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, the Indiana bat, and the Virginia big-eared bat. The Notice also raises concerns about impacts to bald and golden eagles and migrating birds that are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Well now you have gotten over the shock value of living next to an industrial wind turbine, maybe you are ready for more technology in your life? How about microwave towers for cell phone communications or emergency response teams or high definition TV and radio? Why not? Your once rural area is now an industrial park anyway, so what does a few more poles and towers matter now? And remember your driveway and small country road? Well it's now been widened and graded and 50' wide access roads carved away from it to provide clearways for giant tractor trailers. And the deer you used to enjoy so close to your home? Gone ...So what was your life once like back in those tranquil old days before your property area became an industrial wind energy site?