Visit windpowermonthlyevents.com for the latest on our upcoming conferences and webcasts

United States

United States

Compromise could restrict project -- West Virginia approval

Under a compromise with West Virginia environmentalists, a proposal for the largest wind farm in the eastern US will now proceed. But unless the developer, Atlantic Renewable Energy Co, can negotiate some new land leases, the proposed 75 MW plant might have to be scaled back by almost one-fifth.

Under a compromise with local environmentalists, a proposal for the largest wind farm in the eastern US will now proceed. But unless the developer, Atlantic Renewable Energy Co, can negotiate some new land leases, the proposed 75 MW plant might have to be scaled back by almost one-fifth.

An agreement on the disputed project, in woodland on Backbone Mountain in Tucker County, was reached in December between Atlantic Renewable and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, a group trying to get an area nearby designated as a national park. The ridge-top project was then approved by the state Public Service Commission on December 29. Other environmental groups had backed the project as originally proposed.

Under the compromise, the developer is agreeing not to build two arrays of nearly two dozen wind turbines in what was to have been a 90 turbine project. Several turbines in the two arrays would have been visible from parts of Blackwater Falls State Park and Blackwater Canyon. In return, the Highlands Conservancy dropped its protest.

Atlantic Renewable will now try to negotiate new leases with property owners so that those two arrays can be moved from the southern to the northern end of the project. The developer, based in Virginia, holds a lease with Western Pocahontas Land for 4400 acres. The compromise also calls for the wind company to monitor the project's impact on birds once it is installed and to work with the Federal Aviation Administration to try to cut down on the lighting required on turbine towers.

"We have set the precedent that wind power can be developed without seriously impacting existing developed recreational resources," says Frank Young of the Highlands Conservancy. The spirit of co-operation between the wind company and the Highlands Conservancy should be a model for others, he adds. There was no opposition to the project in the first two of the three public meetings required by regulators. West Virginia is economically depressed and the $70-$90 million project will create 200 construction jobs and seven full time jobs, says Atlantic Renewable.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Windpower Monthly Events

Latest Jobs