Beech Ridge Wind Farm


Beech Ridge Wind Farm

The Beech Ridge Wind Farm is a USD 300 million, 124-wind turbine wind farm proposed to be developed in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, in the United States. The 400 foot (122 m) tall wind turbines, each of which will generate 1.5 megawatts of electricity, will be scattered for 15 miles (24 kilometers) along Shellcamp, Smokehouse, Beech, Rockcamp and Big ridges and Cold Knob, Old Field, Blue Knob and Nunly mountains. It will be served by a new 13.8-mile (22.2 kilometer), 138 kilovolt power transmission line, to be located in Greenbrier and Nicholas counties. Total output for the project will be 186 megawatts.

According to viewshed mapping prepared as part of the application, the turbines would be visible from parts of Greenbrier, Nicholas and Pocahontas Counties. At least parts of the turbines would be seen from areas within the Monongahela National Forest, Watoga State Park, and the Cranberry Wilderness Areas. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Draft Beech Ridge Wind Turbine Visibility Map
work =
publisher =Anderson and Associates, Inc.
date =
url =http://www.wvmcre.org
format =.gif
doi =
accessdate = 2007-04-22
]

History

The project came to public notice throughout West Virginia in November 2005, when its owners filed an application for a Site Permit with the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC). The proposal incited vocal controversy, particularly in Greenbrier County, where supporters touted the project's potential economic benefits, while detractors pointed out its effect on the local viewshed, which was felt might lead to negative consequences for the area's tourism industry, as well as a decrement in the local quality of life.

upport

The wind farm is owned by Beech Ridge Energy, LLC, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chicago-based Invenergy, LLC. It is to be built on land owned by MeadWestvaco. Beech Ridge has claimed that the development will create local jobs, add to the local tax base and satisfy the electricity demands of 50,000 households. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Benefits Claimed by Beech Ridge
work =
publisher =
date =
url =http://www.beechridgewind.com/
format =
doi =
accessdate =
]

Opposition

In December 2005, a group called Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy (MCRE) was formed to oppose the development, citing concerns including potential reductions in property values, adverse effects on tourism, bat fatalities, claimed inefficiency of wind energy, tax benefits for wind factories, environmental degradation, and stresses on the local infrastructure.

Legal Battle

MCRE and several local individuals filed motions to dismiss the application, but the PSC ultimately approved the project in December 2006. MCRE filed for reconsideration, but the PSC denied its motion. Subsequently, MCRE and Jeffery and Alicia Eisenbeiss filed separate appeals of the PSC's denial with the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. They were heard on January 9, 2008. [ Citation
last=Wolford
first=Lindsey
author-link=
year=2007
title=Winds of Change: Supreme Court to Hear Appeal
periodical=West Virginia Daily News
volume=110
issue=78
pages=1,14
url=
.
] [Citation
last=
first=
author-link=
year=2007
title=Wind turbine case goes to WV Supreme Court
periodical=Mountain Messenger, November 24, 2007
volume=
issue=
pages=1
url=http://mountainmessenger.com/front.asp#Court.
] [ [http://www.alliednews.com/statenews/cnhinsall_story_009234405.html?start:int=15 AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania - Windfarm foes, proponents pitch arguments to Supreme Court ] ] On June 23, 2008, the Court ruled in favor of Beech Ridge, indicating that the Public Service Commission had acted appropriately in granting the building permit, thus clearing the way for the development. [ Citation
last=Giggenbach
first=Christian
author-link=
year=2008
title=Court Upholds Windfarm Decisions
periodical=Beckley Register-Herald
volume=
issue=
pages=
url=http://www.register-herald.com/archivesearch/local_story_175224840.html
.
]

The Court's decision to hear the case delayed the construction of the project, which was originally scheduled to begin in late 2007. According to a Beech Ridge spokesperson, "...this decision will definitely delay our efforts to finalize our construction plans and contracts and, for the time being, it has put our plans to hire West Virginia construction workers to build the project on hold." [ Citation
last=Wolford
first=Lindsey
author-link=
year=2007
title=Winds of Change: Supreme Court to Hear Appeal
periodical=West Virginia Daily News
volume=110
issue=78
pages=1,14
url=
.
]

The MCRE spokesperson commented, "for 30 million years, Cold Knob, Big Ridge, and Big Beech Knob have been some of the signature landmarks of Greenbrier County. If this industrialization of our mountaintops is allowed to go forward, the new landmarks will become turbines A-16, A-17, A-18 and A-19" [ Citation
last=Wolford
first=Lindsey
author-link=
year=2007
title=Winds of Change: Supreme Court to Hear Appeal
periodical=West Virginia Daily News
volume=110
issue=78
pages=1,14
url=
.
]

ee also

* MeadWestvaco
* Peak oil
* Wind Power
* Wind power in the European Union
* Wind power in the United States

References

External links

* [http://www.beechridgewind.com/ Beech Ridge Energy, LLC, official website]
* [http://www.invenergyllc.com/ Invenergy,LLC official website]
* [http://www.wvmcre.org/ Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy official website]


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