Wind farm green-lighted by SCC

Three months after the state supreme court tossed out a challenge by neighbors and five days before Christmas, Virginia's first proposed wind farm cleared what may have been its final regulatory hurdle, as the State Corporation Commission granted a certificate of public convenience to the 20-turbine, 39-megawatt, wind farm proposed in an ecologically sensitive forest in the Allegheny Mountains.

The approval for the project by Highland New Wind LLC comes with strings attached in the form of a commitment by the developer to allow officials with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to monitor the site for dead birds and bats since the tips of the jumbo-jet-sized blades can whirl at speeds of 91 to 184 miles per hour.

Wind energy as a so-called "green" energy source has split the venerable Sierra Club which, according to wind opponents, has branded the concept of turbines on mountain ridges as a "bad idea" while the the group has simultaneously promoted state legislation for commercial incentives for wind development.

The SCC's extensive plan includes giving state and federal officials unrestricted access to the site, located near the West Virginia line in Highland County. In addition to setting limits on the kills of birds and bats, the SCC also issued a list of penalties for kills of specific species. A killed osprey or eastern screech owl, for instance, would incur a penalty of $500 while the death of each bald eagle or peregrine falcon would cost the company $1,500.

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9 comments

Does anyone know how to get in phone contact with Highland New Wind LLC?

Charlottesville "goes green", then will probably get their "self sufficient" electricity at Highland County's expense. Wonder what the City would say if the propellers were on the end of the downtown mall?

They can put a couple in my yard. I think they're just as attractive as the Eiffel Tower.

Relocate buzzard there!

We have too many buzzards here. The buzzards can scare off the valuable birds, and eat the ones that catch a turbine blade, before inspectors find the dead birds and fine the company!

I'll take one too, and a cell phone tower! As long as the money is there.

There's like 50 people in Highland County and I guess it turns out they are all crybabies.

I say put some coal and nuke power there just for them being so selfish and not wanting to lend what they had to offer to help solve our energy/national security crisis.

The windmills are abusolutey gorgeous. They are huge, almost larger than life. Awesome.

Yey! The fines are a mere pittance, though.

Glad VA finally get windmills. with all the SUV's in C'ville it will be nice to get an non polluting source of energy to power up those mega mansions! Get with the times people, how many birds die from hunters/cars/trucks/pesticides? At least their demise IF they occur will be for a worthy cause...to power our mega-mansions!

I've seen these windmills in Oregon and they were kinda cool.

The monstrosities will certainly ruin the views in this place. Now that the developer has been given the OK--by the State, other localities in Virginia, will be forced to battle the problem in the future. We better prepare/move fast to enact local ordinances preventing these structures on our own mountain tops. The sad thing here, MOST people in Highland Co. DO NOT approve of this concept for their homeland.
Charlotesville should steer clear of any association with such a venture. It will be more difficult to oppose such activity in our own area, if we participate here.
I hope the Dept.of Game/Fisheries invites citizen participation, in inspecting the site for animal deaths. The public deserves to know the WHOLE truth here.
The developer should feel guilt in forcing the project forward in this beautiful area.

People travel all the way to Holland to see windmills, maybe they'll become a tourist attraction. I'd like to see them and plan to and maybe find some lunch while I'm there.