Highland is Virginias least populated and highest elevation county. Our scenery is our greatest asset.
Last Update: 29 January 2008
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13 January 2008 The press of other matters has kept me from working on this site and keeping up with most news. I have kept The Recorder page up to date through this period. All Recorder articles since July 2007, and some earlier ones, are available on line and provide complete coverage of the HNWD issue.
In brief, the SCC has approved the HNWD application with extensive conditions. [Link to the complete text of the SCC final order.] It is not yet known whether these conditions are sufficiently strict that HNWD will be unable to attract investors. In addition, HNWD has not yet obtained an incidental take permit for endangered species of birds and bats. Lack of such a permit may put HNWD in noncompliance with the conditional use permit issued by Highland County. The election last November removed one of the two automatic votes in favor of HNWD on the Highland board of supervisors. It is unclear whether this change will cause the board to look more closely at the situation. It may lead to a strict interpretation of the all permits stipulation in the conditional use permit to include the incidental take permit. HNWD has declined to obtain this permit voluntarily.
11 April 2007 The SCC Commissioners have remanded the HWND case to the Hearing Examiner for further hearings relative to the enviromental issues raised by VDEQ, VDGIF, VDCR, and USFWS. The 13-page Commissioners order gives all the details and is interesting reading. Various depositions are required in May and June. The next hearing is scheduled for 17 July. Naturally, HNWD has objected to this schedule and wants the hearing moved up to 8 May. The Hearing Examiner has scheduled a prehearing conference on 24 April to discuss the scope of the proceedings.
2 March 2007 The SCC Hearing Examiner has released his report on the HNWD application. It is bad news in that he recommends that the project be allowed to proceed with only post-construction studies of bird and bat impacts. He did not recommend any pre-construction studies. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is to be involved in planning and conducting these studies, so there is a good chance they will be done fairly. The full Commission has not yet ruled on the examiners report, though it will likely be approved, and the issue is still before the Supreme Court.
22 February 2007 SB 1351 was modified in committee in the House so that it no longer impacts wind projects. The House version has been accepted by the Senate, so we won this small battle. My analysis of the evolution of this bill. Thanks to everyone who contacted the Delegates. It made a difference.
8 February: Urgent calls and letters needed! Special-interest legislation has passed the Virginia Senate and is now before the House. Please read the details on SB 1351. This would short-circuit ongoing judicial review of the HNWD project. The Recorder has an excellent editorial on this bill, End run should be stopped, 15 February 2007.
A 23 January article in The Roanoke Times perpetuates the myth that the HNWD project would serve 15,000 homes. This myth is ably refuted in a rebuttal article by Glenn Schleede, who shoots down the idea that it even makes sense to talk about homes served by an intermittent power source. This myth is refuted from a slightly different perspective in a short paper that I prepared for this purpose.
26 January 2007: The SCC staff has sent a memo to the Commissioners stating that the HNWD project has met the basic requirements of state law, with only certain environmental concerns needing review. [144 kB] Several articles in The Recorder cover this memo and the post-hearing briefs filed with the Commission.
One statement on page 3 of the memo stands out . . . numerous public witnesses addressed the impact of the project on tourism and other development in Highland County. The Staff would note that these issues were considered by the Highland County Board of Supervisors before it granted the conditional use permit. This statement is simply not true. The majority members of the board went into this whole matter with their minds made up. They relied on one-sided information and chose to ignore the testimony of their constituents as well as that of recognized experts. They did not consider anything except how to press on to their predetermined decision. This was a travesty of democracy and it is unworthy of the professionalism of the SCC staff that they do not recognize this.
20 January 2007: The Virginia Legislature is now in session. We will track developments that impact industrial wind power as the legislative session proceeds. The main issue at this moment is SB 1275 on Renewable Portfolio Standards, sponsored by Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple. Follow the above link for the full text of this bill and a discussion of its impact on wind development in Virginia.
22 November 2006: The SCC hearings are finally history. My report [below] has been updated. The hearing examiner will prepare his report and final briefs will be submitted by both sides before the case will go to the commissioners. A final decision is expected early in 2007.
31 October 2006: The final SCC hearings on the HNWD case are ongoing at this time in Richmond. I attended the hearings yesterday and have prepared a brief report. I will update this report whenever I have news of the continuing sessions. The hearings are expected to recess tomorrow afternoon and resume next week or the week after, perhaps five or six days all together.
18 September 2006: Another long period has passed with no updates to this page. Sigh! The main happenings in the HNWD case are that the Highland County supervisors prevailed in the several lawsuits and preparations are under way for the final hearings by the State Corporation Commission in October. The court decisions are being appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court. We should know later this year whether the court will agree to hear the cases.
The SCC hearings will be held at 10 a.m. on 30 October in their office building at 1300 East Main Street in downtown Richmond, Courtroom C on the second floor. The main purpose of this hearing is to cross examine expert witnesses who have presented testimony on both sides. However, public witnesses will be allowed to speak at the beginning of the hearing. Anyone wishing to speak should arrive a few minutes early and sign in with the Commission bailiff. Anyone who testified at the SCC hearings in Monterey must present new information and not rehash what has already been said. Testimony must be brief and substantive. The hearing examiner will not permit witnesses to make lengthy statements as he did in Monterey. It will be counterproductive to be long winded or repetitive. The hearings are expected to last for two days, perhaps longer.
A long article on wind power is in Orion magazine, Whither Wind?, by Charles Komanoff, v.25, n.5, pp 30-37, Sep-Oct 2006. This is a well-written and thoughtful article but it reaches a conclusion in favor of wind development. This is unfortunate since Orion is a well-respected journal. I believe Komanoff has been a bit loose with some of the facts, at least when applied to Appalachian sites, so careful rebuttals are in order. The above web site provides a link for posting commnents on line. Quite a few comments, most favorable, have been posted as of this writing.
25 June 2006: Two main things have happened since I last updated this site in May. First, two of the citizens suits against Highland County were dismissed but a third case is going to trial this week, 27 June 2006, in Monterey and a fourth suit has been filed, which will be heard in August. The two dismissed suits have been appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court. Coverage in The Recorder includes an article on 9 June about the dismissed suits and another on 23 June about the upcoming court hearings. In addition, the print edition for 23 June carried a summary of all of the pending legal actions, an article about the attorneys involved, and a timeline for the wind project from June 2002 to date.
The second thing is a response from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to Highland New Winds attempt to terminate state agency reviews and get on with SCC approval [see section on Floras letter to DEQ, below]. DGIF has provided a detailed response, indicating that they cannot complete their review since HNWD has refused to provide the necessary information. There is an article about this in The Recorder on 9 June 2006.
Meanwhile, county officials have taken closer control over the Comprehensive Plan Review, appointing a new advisory committee and setting a schedule of meetings. This link leads to reports and documents on that matter, which is peripheral to the wind issue but important because so much of the opposition to wind development stems from its incompatibility with the Comp Plan.
The National Academies of Science, Committee on Environmental Impact of Wind Energy Projects, held its third meeting on 18-20 May 2006 at Canaan Valley State Park near Davis, WV. There was a field trip on Saturday morning to view the nearby Mountaineer project but Florida Power and Light would not permit this committee to enter the site so they were limited to viewing it from public roads. The stated reason is that as an industrial site it is too dangerous. Hmmmmm.
John Flora has written a letter to the Department of Environmental Quality on behalf of HNWD, stating that all relevant studies have been completed and requesting that DEQ remove its suspension and proceed with its report to the SCC. The letter refers to numerous attachments, totaling nearly 80 pages [2.38 Mb], which are available separately for anyone wanting all of the supporting detail. Both the letter and the attachments are cleaner files than those available from the SCC or elsewhere. The Recorder has a more detailed report on this development, including responses from state officials, as well as excerpts from and discussion of Floras letter to the DEQ.
Pin-back metal buttons, 2¼" in diameter, with the image shown at left are available from Protect Pendleton. The WV Public Service Commission is holding two hearings in Franklin to receive public comment on the Liberty Gap project, 4 May 2006 at 1:30 and 7:00 p.m. at the Community Building. These hearings will focus on the 50 turbines proposed for Jack Mountain in Pendleton County. If built, this project would directly impact the Doe Hill and Forks of Waters sections of Highland and it would open the door for development on down Jack Mountain in Highland County. Liberty Gap wants to place 62 turbines between the state line and US 250. Be sure to wear your button when you attend the hearing! I attended part of the evening session and found the testimony to be much like that at the SCC hearings in Monterey. There was no sign-up list so the hearing examiner called on people who raised their hands. Thirty-three had spoken at the afternoon session and he promised that the evening session would continue until everyone who wanted to speak had done so. It looked like it would be a long evening. Tom Matthews of Liberty Gap described the project and a representative of the Building Trades Council [union] supported it. Attorney James McNeely, represnting Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County, spoke in opposition, stating the Liberty Gap had not complied with PSC requirements. He also quoted a person who said, Were right fond of our raggedy little mountains just the way they are. The floor was then opened for public comments. The first six, including myself, spoke in opposition, then Steve Conrad spoke in favor. He seems to be Pendletons version of Jerry Rexrode, saying that most people are in favor of the project but dont want to speak out and that those who do speak are against virtually everything that comes along. A break was called shortly after nine oclock and I left for home. The Recorder has a more detailed report on these hearings.
Where are we today, 26 April 2006? Our Planning Commission has found that the HNWD proposal is in compliance with our Comprehensive Plan despite the fact that nothing vaguely similar to it is mentioned therein. This decision is being challenged in court. SCC hearings have been held but further action by the SCC is waiting for a report from the Department of Environmental Quality. Public comment to the SCC remains open until after the DEQ report is available. A court hearing on some aspects of the case is scheduled for 27 June. Meanwhile, Pendleton and Greenbrier Counties in West Virginia are fighting even larger projects. The Pendleton project on Jack Mountain would have a direct impact on Highland County, if approved.
Report on the Section 2232 review by the Planning Commission to determine if the HNWD project is substantially in accord with the county Comprehensive Plan, 18-19 April 2006.
This report now includes the Commissions report to the Board of Supervisors.
Reports on the hearings by the State Corporation Commission on the HNWD project, 13-14 March 2006 in Monterey.
Recent happenings on HNWD wind project
The Department of Environmental Quality has suspended its review of the application from HNWD to the SCC pending the submission of additional information by the applicant. Several state agencies are parties to the request for more information. A letter from DEQ to the State Corporation Commission summarizes the concerns of the other agencies. This is the most important document to read. If more detailed information is desired one should refer to the separate reports listed below. There is also an article in The Recorder on all of these reports.
The Department of Game & Inland Fisheries report is by far the most detailed. It is 22 pages, 1.30 Mb, but it is very interesting reading. They are highly critical of the studies submitted by HNWD and suggest that a number of additional studies be carried out.
The Department of Conservation & Recreation report is only two pages but they support the VDGIF comments and suggest a two year pre-construction monitoring program.
The Department of Historic Resources report is also short and critical. They want viewshed analyses and a comprehensive site plan among other things.
The Army Corps of Engineers states that it will comply with the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA], the Endangered Species Act [ESA], and the National Historic Preservation Act [NHPA] and will coordinate with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Virginia Departments of Environmental Quality, Historic Resources, and Game & Inland Fisheries prior to permitting a utility line crossing of the Laurel Fork.
As expected, the Highland County Board of Supervisors has become a respondent with the SCC in the HNWD case. In their Notice of Participation the supervisors again assert that the project is consistent with the countys Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance.
The PJM Interconnection has issued its Impact Study Report, January 2006, for the HNWD project.
HNWD attorney John Flora wrote to Senator George Allen, 13 December 2005, requesting his assistance in getting the US Fish & Wildlife Service to back off on its Interim Guidelines for wind projects, objecting particularly to the proposed multi-year bird and bat studies. On 11 January 2006 Sen. Allen forwarded Floras letter to the USFWS, requesting immediate attention and expeditious assistance on the issues raised but does not take a position on them himself. Floras letter illustrates HNWDs continuing low-level approach to the debate.
Court hearing on HNWD wind project
There was a hearing on 12 December 2005 in Highland County court on a citizen suit to block the Highland New Wind Development project on a variety of planning, zoning, and procedural issues. Attorneys for the Highland County Supervisors filed a variety of motions requesting that the suit be dismissed without a hearing, all of which were rejected by the judge. The case will go to trial on 27 June 2006 and is expected to take two days. The Recorder published two detailed reports on this hearing in its 16 December edition. These are available on line at:
Wind energy suit will go to trial
Plaintiffs trump countys bid to dismiss suit.
The latter article lists the trial date as 14 June but it was later changed to the 27th.
HNWD maneuvering with the SCC
On 15 September 2005 McBride and his attorney met with State officials in Richmond to lobby for an expedited review of their project. A detailed report of this meeting was published in The Recorder. In a nutshell it appears that the State agencies will take their time with this and will probably do a comprehensive review, which could take a couple of years. It is also reported that there is a shortage of turbines, such that HNWD cannot receive its equipment until 2007 at earliest. The US Fish and Wildlife Service wrote to McBride on 28 September suggesting that multi-year preconstruction studies should be carried out to determine potential effects on wildlife see link in the resources section below.
There was an interesting exchange between HNWD attorney, John Flora, and a State official regarding public hearings. The following is quoted from The Recorder article:
Flora also said HNWD would like to avoid a public hearing, but officials said there was a lot of time for them to review the application, and whether a public hearing was held had more to do with how much opposition there was to the proposal. A hearing may not be scheduled, unless you have public protest, one said.
Well have that, Flora replied.
If youre pretty sure you have public opposition, youre better off to ask for (a hearing), an SCC official advised.
Theyd (the McBrides) rather not have one but I see the wisdom in it, Flora said.
The implication is clear for those who oppose this project once the SCC application is filed the Commission must be flooded with letters of protest and requests for a hearing to be held in Monterey.
State-wide energy planning with implications for wind projects
Energy policy in Virginia is suddenly in the news on several fronts. Wind energy is just a part of this. Here are the major players in the events and legislation now under consideration:
The Virginia Commission for Electric Utility Restructuring (CEUR) has been discussing implementation of RPS in Virginia. RPS would require utilities to provide a certain percentage of their power from wind.
Virginia Techs Center for Coal and Energy Research has been commissioned by the CEUR to study the potential for RPS in Virginia.
The Virginia Coal and Energy Commission is proposing legislation that would remove the siting of energy facilities from any local governmental control, such as zoning ordinances or comprehensive plans.
The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is one of the state agencies tasked with studying the siting of energy facilities, along with
The State Corporation Commission, which is also the agency that will rule on the HNWD project.
A chart showing the relationships among these groups and others appeared in The Recorder, 18 November 2005.
- The production of electricity from our wind turbines can be akin to maneuvering a rapidly moving articulated lorry train without a steering wheel, accelerator, clutch, or brakes. Western Denmarks principal Transmission System Operator
- Heaven knows that West Virginia has always stepped up to the plate to contribute to our nations energy security. But we now have a situation where speculators are staking claim to some of our most
scenic areas and erecting these monstrosities that produce little
energy and are made possible only by a tax credit.
Rep. Alan Mollohan, US Congressman, WV
- If I were an investor and wanted to keep my green image intact, I would be deeply concerned about building turbines on forested
ridgetops. Merlin Tuttle, Bat Conservation International
- The cumulative impacts on bat populations from proposed and/or
constructed wind farm developments, especially in the eastern United
States, may lead to further population declines, placing multiple bat
populations at serious risk of extinction. Dr. Thomas Kunz, Director of the Center for Ecology and Conservation
Biology, Boston University
- There appears to be no recourse or plan to compensate us for property value losses, erosion of our quality of life, or mental anguish. Besides these 44 wind turbines, thousands more are in the pipeline! God help us! Resident near the Mountaineer wind plant in West Virginia
- At a time when America needs large amounts of low-cost reliable power, wind produces puny amounts of high-cost unreliable power . . . Clearly there are more sensible ways to provide clean energy than spending $3.7 billion of taxpayers money to destroy the American landscape . . . Wholesale destruction of the American landscape is not an incidental concern. The Great American Ourdoors is an essential part of the American character. Egypt has its pyramids, England has its history. And we have the Great American Outdoors. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in an address to Congress, 13 May 2005.
- Industrial wind turbines are not your grandfathers windmills, and 8000-acre industrial complexes are not wind farms. Rather, they are tax subsidy schemes driven by misleading claims that they will reduce pollution and shut down conventional plants. Bruce Waugh in the Kansas City Star, 16 August 2005.
Previous meetings and hearings on wind energy in Highland County and related issues:
Following are my reports on these meetings. They are also reported in greater detail in The Recorder, all of which are listed on a separate page, most with links to the text of the articles. Reports in other papers are in the Resources section further down on this page.
- Report on the Section 2232 review by the Planning Commission to determine if the HNWD project is substantailly in accord with the county Comprehensive Plan, 18-19 April 2006.
- Hearings by the State Corporation Commission on the HNWD project, 13-14 March 2006 in Monterey.
- The 2006 session of the Virginia Legislature: There were a number of bills in the Virginia legislature in 2006 relating to energy in general and some specific to wind energy. In particular, a bill introduced by Senator Hanger to regulate local taxation of wind power was passed.
- Public hearing and approval of the HNWD project by the Board of Supervisors, May and July 2005.
- A Joint Public Hearing was held by the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission on 21 April 2005 to consider amendments to the structure-height section of the zoning amendment. The Planning Commission voted 3-2 to recommend that the amendments not be adopted. The Supervisors ignored this advice, as they have all other such advice, and adopted the amendments on a 2-1 vote.
- A workshop on conservation easements was presented by Valley Conservation Council and Virginia Outdoors Foundation representatives at The Highland Center on 29 March 2005.
- Planning Commission meetings in February and March 2005 to consider various height amendments to the zoning ordinance.
- Three meetings of the Industrial Development Authority in February and March 2005. The IDA was charged with studying the wind power issue for the BOS. These meetings provided a forum for public debate.
- The Board of Supervisors meetings in February and March 2005: In February the Board continued its consideration of amendments to the zoning ordinance regarding structure height. In March there was a detailed presentation on the county budget.
- The 2005 session of the Virginia Legislature: Two bills were introduced by Senator Hanger; the legislative session is over and neither bill was passed into law. The Virginia Big-Eared Bat was named official bat of the Commonwealth.
- Planning Commission meeting, 27 January 2005, at which the Supervisors withdrew the amendment they had offered only a week earlier, so the PC took no action.
- The Board of Supervisors, at a special meeting on 20 January 2005, considered draft height regulations as prepared by Counsel. They accepted the draft language of the amendment and sent it on to the Planning Commission for its consideration. They then requested that the IDA undertake a review of industrial wind turbines in the county.
- The Board of Supervisors, at a special meeting on 10 January 2005, voted to deny the requested zoning amendment and asked Counsel to prepare totally new wording. They also postponed the 26 January hearing on a conditional use permit for HNWD, pending resolution of the zoning issue.
- The Board of Supervisors met for their 2005 organizational meeting on 4 January 2005. The Board set 10 January for action on a proposed zoning amendment. Appended to the meeting report is my personal list of reasons why any zoning change should be postponed.
- The Board of Supervisors met on 7 December 2004 and, among other things, set 26 January 2005 as the date for a public hearing on HNWDs application for a conditional-use permit.
- A Joint Public Hearing was held by the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission on 21 October 2004 to consider an amendment to the structure-height section of the zoning amendment. No action was taken by the Board.
- The two proposals for amending the structure-height section of the zoning amendment that are under consideration by the BOS and the Planning Commission, 21 October 2004.
- The procedure that is followed in Highland County for consideration of zoning ordinance amendments and conditional-use permits, with specific reference to the HNWD application and updated as to where we stand now.
The dot at the base of the tower is a cow!
How did all of this get started?
Char and I took a trip to Pennsylvania and West Virginia in October 2002 to see several completed plants and one under construction. These things are HUGE and, while somewhat benign at first sight, serious concerns emerge with any sort of investigation. We would like to support what appears to be renewable or green energy but in reality these machines are very inefficient, not really benign environmentally, and, in truth, much more of a tax-avoidance scheme than an energy-generating facility.
And just how big are these things? While several companies manufacture them, some basic information is available on the General Electric Co web site. The popular 1.5 MW turbine can be 316 to 454 feet tall with a rotor either 231 or 253 feet in diameter. The larger rotor turns at a maximum speed of 20 RPM, resulting in a tip speed over 180 MPH. Newer 2.5 MW units can be up to 548 feet in overall height with rotors up to 308 feet in diameter. These operate more slowly, up to 15 RPM, with a tip speed of 164 MPH. A still larger 3.6 MW unit is also listed but no height is specified. The rotor is 341 feet in diameter with a tip speed of 186 MPH at 15.3 RPM. This rotor sweeps an area in excess of two acres! We are told that these largest turbines are designed for offshore use only.
Photo Gallery 1 of some PA and WV sites, one from OK, and one from the UK. [225 kB] The Meyersdale site pictured here is just east of Garrett, shown in Gallery 2.
Photo Gallery 2 is a selection of photos from our 2002 trip to see turbines in PA and WV. [240 kB]
Photo Gallery 3 shows three simulations of the HNWD project on Red Oak Knob and Tamarack Ridge.
Photo Gallery 4 shows three orthophoto maps of the Mountaineer facility before and after construction, highlighting the amount of habitat destruction resulting from ridgetop developments. [340 kB]
Photo Gallery 5 shows several turbines in various stages of construction and destruction. The links to six of these photos were broken but no one told me. They are now OK. Please help!!
Cartoon Gallery relating to Highland County wind power. [280 kB]
We propose to use this page to post information and links as an aid to communication among interested parties while it is a live issue. Perhaps we will leave it up after a decision is reached just for the record. Please tell me if there are any broken links so we can repair them.
Most documents on this web site are posted in Adobe Portable Document Format [PDF]. In order to access these you must have Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. The Reader is free and can be downloaded by clicking the above link. You must then choose the correct version for your computer. If you have a dial-up connection you probably want the Basic version. Even that is 8.7 Mb for Windows and 15 Mb for Mac, so it will take some time to download. If you have Acrobat integrated with your browser you can click the link to any PDF file and view it in the browser window. To download the file to your computer, right click the link and select Save Target As.
Resources Document References and Links
Significant Web Sites and Documents:
- Maryland Wind is a new web site concerned specifically with wind projects in Maryland.
- Industrial Wind Action is dedicated to providing information on industrial wind energy to enable communities and government officials to make informed decisions.
- Wind-power program at Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. This appears to be North Carolinas version of the wind-advocacy program at James Madison University in Virginia.
- Wind-power section of the West Virginia Highlands Conservacy. They like the concept of wind power but want siting criteria and oppose the concentration of turbines that is poised for erection on the high ridges of Appalachia.
- North American Windpower is a wind advocacy publication, both in print and on line.
- North Carolina Mountain Ridge Protection Act
- The Overlooked Environmental Cost of a Wind Generation Portfolio to Serve the Need for Power, by Lincoln Wolverton and Raymond Bliven, 9 January 2007, 7 pages. Highly variable wind power requires backup, hence may not result in reduced air pollution.
- Less for More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development, by Jon Boone, 8 January 2007, 34 pages. [225 kB] Explaining why wind power cannot significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Whither Wind?, by Charles Komanoff, Orion, v.25, n.5, pp 30-37, Sep-Oct 2006. This article reviews most of the arguments on industrial wind turbines, pro and con, and finally comes down on the pro side. Orion is also hosting an on-line forum, which can be reached from the above web site.
- Position paper on HNWD project by Rick Webb and Dan Boone, pointing out the high risk of environmental harm in contrast to an insignificant contribution of the project toward pollution offsets or energy production, 29 March 2006, 18 pages. [378 kB]
- The complete report of the VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries on the wildlife aspects of the HNWD project, 24 February 2006, 22 pages. [1.30 MB]
- Battered by Harsh Winds Must bats pay the price for wind energy?, by Merlin D. Tuttle, Bats, Vol 23, No. 3, Fall 2005, cover + pp. 1-6. [1.75 MB]
- Virginia Wind is an organization focusing on the need for thorough study and responsible siting guidelines prior to any wind development in Virginia. This site is not accessible through my security firewall so I cannot monitor its content.
- National Wind Watch promotes awareness of the risks and related impacts of industrial wind energy development on our environment, economy, and quality-of-life.
- Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy was formed September 2005 in response to concerns about a proposal by Invenergy LLC to install 133 wind turbines on the highest ridges in beautiful Greenbrier County, WV.
Wind Energy in Virginia is a web page created for Geography 380 at George Mason University. The instructor is Charles A. Grymes. It covers the entire state but has some information specific to Highland County.
- GAO-05-906, Wind Power: Impacts on Wildlife and Government Responsibilities for Regulating Development and Protecting Wildlife, the Government Accountability Office, 16 September 2005, 64 pages. [1.67 MB] An article about this report was published in The Recorder on 30 September.
- “Big Money” Discovers the Huge Tax Breaks and Subsidies for “Wind Energy” While Taxpayers and Electric Customers Pick up the Tab, by Glenn R. Schleede, 14 April 2005. [189 kB]
- Stop Ill Wind is a new web site that just came to my attention. While all of it is interesting and relevant, I would like to call attention to one part that lists and discusses the Top Ten false and misleading claims the windpower industry makes for projects in the eastern United States.
- Misplaced State Government Faith in Wind Energy This Time by the Kansas Energy Council, by Glenn R. Schleede, 1 March 2005. [289 kB] This is a very large document but it includes much of the material in several of Schleedes earlier documents. It is specific to Kansas but the concepts presented are easily adapted to other states.
- U. S. Wind Resource Map The legend is not clear at this scale. The lightest blue is Class 2 winds, medium blue = Class 3 and the bright blue = Class 4. The darker colors representing Class 5 to 7 do not differentiate clearly. The distance scale is in miles.
- Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative claims to be an unbiased educational group. I spent some time exploring their web site in preparation for posting this link. I found lots of pro-industry stuff but nothing that was critical of wind power. Maybe I just missed it but until they can show me the flip side of the story I will continue to call them a wind-advocacy group.
- Chesapeake Climate Action Network So here is a link to the opposition, just to be fair. These folks have legitimate concerns about global warming and the resulting rise in sea level but what they fail to understand is that wind turbines could be lined up on Appalachian ridges from Maine to Georgia and very little less coal would be burned or CO2 emitted. We need at least three things to head off global warming: first a serious commitment to energy consevation and to pollution control, then a breakthrough in photovoltaic technology, which would produce electricity directly from sunlight without first funneling the solar energy through giant machines that make life miserable for anyone near them. This is not an easy problem. Wind turbines may be part of the solution in some areas but at this time they have just too many negatives in this area.
- Protect the Flint Hills The Kansas Flint Hills, the last expanse of Tallgrass Prairie on the continent, is being threatened by industrial energy development.
- A report by Dan Boone, Status of Windplants in the Mid-Atlantic States, listing all operating, permitted, and proposed facilities. [144 kB] The map referred to appears on page 7 of this report. HNWD is #33 on the southwestern edge of the circle on this map.
- Map showing high-voltage powerlines in VA and WV. There is a great blank area in central WV, which is served only by lines less than 345 KV.
- And here is a more localized map showing lines down to 69 KV. Be sure to zoom your browser to 100% so these maps will be legible.
- Dan Boone has provided a map showing where the winds are in Highland County. This is a reduced version for faster download but it is still entirely readable. [96 kB]
- Wind Energy Will Not Reduce US Oil Dependence, a short report by Glenn R. Schleede, 1 December 2004. [147 kB] One of the false claims made by wind energy advocates is that greater use of this potential energy source would reduce US dependence on oil, including oil imports. In fact, adding more wind turbines will have no significant impact on US oil consumption. The document listed in footnote 1 of this paper is also available here, near the bottom of this list.
- A Bibliography of Bat Interactions with Wind Turbines, by Gregory D. Johnson and Ed Arnett, 16 July 2004, 9 pages.
- ResponsibleWind.org provides a good overview of wind power and links to a number of other sites.
- The American Wind Energy Association presents the industrys side of the story. They have a map showing wind projects in each state. AWEA is sponsoring two educational workshops, Siting Wind Power Projects in the Eastern U.S., 8-9 March 2005 in Boston, covering emerging topics of wind project siting, such as technical and wildlife issues, and building local support for wind projects, with a focus on the Eastern US area, and,
Transmission Workshop: Wind Energy Delivery and Reliability, 30-31 March in Toronto, focusing on wind integration and utility questions from economics and engineering perspectives.
- Another pro-industry site is the Utility Wind Industry Group.
- Country Guardian is a group in the UK running a National Campaign to oppose wind turbines in Britains precious landscapes and promote energy conservation. There is a lot of information here, among the most striking is: WIND farms can ruin the peace of the countryside and destroy the value of nearby homes, a judge has ruled. The article is attributed to Times online, 10 January 2004. This offers no legal precendent for the US but it is interesting nonetheless.
- U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service wind energy page. Included are links about halfway down the page to PDF files for Service Interim Guidance on Avoiding and Minimizing Wildlife Impacts from Wind Turbines and Directors Memo on Implementation of Interim Guidelines. These guidelines have been the subject of recent controversy. See the Pombo letter of 4 October 2004 in the next section.
- The American Bird Conservancy has a report titled Windfarms and Birds: An analysis of the effects of windfarms on birds, and guidance on environmanetal assessment citeria and site selection issues, prepared by BirdLife International, September 2003, 58pp. [631 kB] There are links to other information on their home page and a detailed statement of ABCs wind energy policy.
- Industrial Wind Energy Opposition. Following is a link to a major paper on this site.
- A Problem With Wind Power by Eric Rosenbloom. This web site has a great deal of useful information and a lot of links. It covers European projects, where wind has been developed longer than here. Denmark has 6000 turbines yet no conventional power plant has been shut down. There is information here that I have not heard in any presentation on Highland County.
- The Glebe Mountain Group in Vermont also has an informative web site. It covers mainly Vermont and New England issues but even has some references to Highland County.
- A Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for wind development on public lands in the western United States has been prepared by the Bureau of Land Management. It is available in PDF format, chapter by chapter, at the above link and also on CD-ROM. The web site a lot of other information that I have not yet explored.
- Facing up to the true costs and benefits of wind energy, by Glenn R. Schleede, 24 June 2004, 22-page report presented to the American Electric Cooperative annual meeting. [240 kB]
- Economic report by Michael Siegel, 20 May 2004, prepared specifically for Highland County, was presented at an information meeting in Monterey.
- State and Local Economic Impact of Wind Farms using Highland County as an example, by Glenn R. Schleede, 28 April 2004. [213 kB]
- Case study of the Top of Iowa Wind Farm by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, undated but probably 2003. It has complete production data for the project for 2002.
Newspaper Articles, Editorials, Letters and other Documents:
Many of these links are to documents on my own web site if any of them are broken they can be fixed. Others are direct links to the original media sites. If those sites remove their documents all I can do is delete the links. In either case, please inform me of broken links via e-mail (bottom of this page). Documents for which no size is listed are generally small and will present no problems even for dial-up users.
- Justices to decide windfarm argument, A hearing date has not been established by Christian Giggenbach, The Register-Herald, Beckley, WV, 18 April 2007. In regard to the Beech Ridge project in Greenbrier County.
- Justice thought pro se advocate was lawyer, Couple fighting to stop proposed windfarm in Greenbrier County by Christian Giggenbach, The Register-Herald, Beckley, WV, 18 April 2007.
- Wind does not help fight global warming National Wind Watch, 1 March 2007.
- Monday view: Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph, 19 February 2007. New developments in solar technology makes wind power obsolete.
- Mollohan pushing PSC on wind farm studies by Paul J. Nyden, Sunday Gazette-Mail, 18 February 2007 [West Virginia]
- Board adopts tall structures ordinance by Nancy Lindsey, The Enterprise, 14 February 2007 [Patrick County, VA]
Tilting at Wind Energy Special Report: Dont believe the hype about this alternative power source by William Tucker, The American Spectator, 15 February 2007
- In a Corner of Virginias Switzerland, a Division Over a Planned Wind Farm by Pamela J. Podger, The New York Times, 13 February 2007.
- West Virginia Governor proposes tax measures for wind farms , by Lawrence Messina, Associated Press writer, 7 February 2007. The bill would increase the amount of power form each turbine that the state would tax.
- Guides for wind farm get initial OK, by Monte Mitchell, Winston-Salem Journal, 6 February 2007 Ashe County commissioners approve an ordinance for wind energy. Ashe County is in the extreme NW corner of North Carlina.
- New FAA guidelines for lighting wind turbines went into effect on 1 February 2007. The recommendations provide for day and night conspicuity. The full report is available from the FAA: Obstruction Marking and Lighting
- President Bush did NOT state that wind could supply 20% of US Electricity, by Glenn Schleede, 2 February 2007. Bush makes some off-the-wall comments but this would be truly a preposterous boner.
- Wind farm gets OK from SCC staff, by John Cramer, The Roanoke Times, 23 January 2007. Same story from National Wind Watch, in case the direct link fails. This story perpetuates the myth that HNWD will serve 15,000 homes.
- Wind farm wouldnt serve many homes, by Glenn Schleede, The Roanoke Times, 7 February 2007. In fact, the concept of homes served cannot properly be applied to any intermittent power source such as a wind turbine.
- The 15,000 homes myth is shot down from another perspective in a short article by John Sweet.
- Renewable Portfolio Standards What it means and why Virginia is still not ready for it in 2007 by John R. Sweet, January 2007. Position paper on Virginia SB 1275.
- Wind Big Part of Solution to Global Warming: Trade Group, Environmental Organizations Say;
Beyond Ability to Cut Emissions, Wind Energy Industry Has High
Commitment to Environmental Stewardship American Wind Energy Association press release, 18 January 2007. Yet another litany of false and misleading statements by the wind industry. Particularly egregious is the false assertion by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an otherwise reputable and astute environmental organization.
- Virginia Considers Renewable Power Sources Support for RPS Legislation Is a Stand for Clean Energy, by Jim Madden, Guest Columnist, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 17 January 2007.
. . . But the Bill Would Achieve Little Benefit at Great Cost, by Rick Webb, Guest Columnist, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 17 January 2007.
- Wind: Its Free, Plentiful and Fickle by Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times, 28 December 2006. A reference midway through this article to 1.5 gigawatt turbines is in error. The largest turbines now deployed in the US are 2.5 megawatt. Somewhat larger ones are under development but still nowhere close to gigawatt [1000 megawatt] size.
- Proceedings of a conference on Wildlife and Utility-Scale Wind Energy Development, hosted by the Department of Geography, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown, PA, 2 December 2006.
- Wind energy: A looming disaster for West Virginia Sunday Gazette-Mail, Charleston, WV, 20 August 2006.
- The Wayward Wind is the transcript of a talk by Jon Boone to a group in western New York on 19 June 2006. It is quite an eloquent statement on the ineffectiveness of wind power in the eastern US. [155 kB]
- Turbines stir up flurry of worries, by Mason Adams, The Roanoke Times, 16 May 2006. Patrick County residents express their concerns about property values, viewsheds and nature.
- Map showing likely locations for siting wind turbines in Patrick County, Dan Boone, May 2006.
- Just because its green doesnt mean its smart, by Andrew Kantor, USA Today, 11 May 2006. Industrial wind power does not live up to its billing.
- Mountaintop removal mining opponents support wind farm, by Eric Eyre, The Charleston Gazette, 11 May 2006.
- Wind farm plan raises questions, by Andrew Kantor, The Roanoke Times, 9 May 2006. Energy officials say the Bent Mountain facility would have little effect on the areas energy situation.
- Thank You for Emitting, an interview with Frank Maisano, spokesman for the wind industry, by Jim Motavalli.
- Wind farm company eyes Roanoke Valley, by John Cramer, The Roanoke Times, 6 May 2006. A Chicago company is looking into building a wind farm on Bent and Poor mountains SW of Roanoke.
- Wind industry giant invests in U.S., Reuters, 3 May 2006, as reported on MSNBC. Iberdrola buying Community Energy, looking at China project.
- More on the Bent Mountain Project from Virginia Wind, including a location map.
- California Illuminates the World, by Craig Canine in OnEarth, Spring 2006, Vol 28-1, pp. 22-27. Californias pioneering efficiency plan could help solve the worlds energy crisis. Californias per capita electricity consumption peaked around 1980 and has held steady while it has risen nearly 50% for the US as a whole since that time. If more states or the US as a whole would adopt similar measures we would not be talking about desecrating our mountains with wind turbines. The link above is for a PDF [1 Mb] of the article as it appeared in print. There is also a more typical web version available.
- Ordinance prohibits tall structures Supervisors say 60-day measure gives time to study wind turbines, by Nancy Lindsey, The Enterprise, Stuart, VA, 12 April 2006.
- County weighs pros and cons of wind farms, by Nancy Lindsey, The Enterprise, Stuart, VA, 5 April 2006. A new threat is now looming in Virginia, in Patrick County, south of Roanoke. It has more recently been reported that the unnamed developer is Community Energy of Wayne, PA. They were interested in Highland County several years ago.
- Blowin in the wind: Tilting with windmills in Highland County, by Sheila Pell and Hawes Spencer, The HooK, issue 0511, 16 March 2006, Charlottesville, VA. This is a long article about the SCC hearings on HNWD. It is more balanced than we sometimes see in outside media.
- Wind energy supporters and detractors try to interpret ruling, Candace Page, Burlington Free Press, Vermont, 15 March 2006. Let us pray for the same result in Highland.
- Town OKs $100,000 to battle wind farm, by Susan Smallheer, The Rutland Herald, Vermont, 8 March 2006. What a contrast to the Highland supervisors!
- Burlington Voters reject industrial wind, Sandy Wilbur, Burlington Free Press, Vermont, 5 March 2006.
- Windmill project could kill birds and bats, report says, by Rex Springston, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4 March 2006. While not opposing the [HNWD] plans, VA game officials say effects need study.
- Yellow light for a green energy source, by Mark Clayton, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 March 2006. The HNWD project is mentioned in this report.
- The Flap Over Wind Power, by Cindy Skrzycki, The Washington Post, 28 February 2006, p. D01 regarding the USFWS siting guidelines.
- Is sense blowing in the wind?, by Mark Guydish, Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, PA, 27 February 2006.
An article by two local academics questions the faith many people put in wind power. Editors note on this story, by Matt Golas.
- Wildlife, windmills and power, by Fred LeBrun, Times Union, Albany, NY, 26 February 2006. Are we perhaps getting too far ahead of ourselves by uncritically embracing wind turbines?
- Bills not favorable to proposed wind farm The Register-Herald, by Christian Giggenbach, CNHI News Service, 23 February 2006. Proposed repeal of WV state tax incentives.
- Senator wants PSC regulations to stop wind farm in Greenbrier by Tom Searls, The Charleston Gazette, 22 February 2006. WV State Sen. Jesse Guills, R-Greenbrier, wants to place a moratorium on wind development until the PSC adopts adequate regulations.
- WV Senate Bill 665, as described in the above article.
- Approximate site map for HNWD proposal on Allegheny Mountain. Page one describes the location and the map is on page two. [253 kB]
- Letter from the Army Corps of Engineers, 23 January 2006, regarding the proposed HNWD utility line crossing of Laurel Fork. The Corps will coordinate with USFWS, VDEQ, VDHR, and VDGIF on this matter. A permit, if issued, must comply with NEPA, ESA, and NHPA. This does not look like a slam dunk.
- Greenbrier CVB opposes wind farm after prompt from Lewisburg mayor The Register-Herald, 26 January 2006, by Christian Giggenbach, CNHI News Service. Regarding Beech Run proposal in Greeenbrier County, WV.
- Citizens group challenges Grant wind farm project The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register, January 2006. Regarding the NedPower project in Grant County, WV.
- Dont take the wind out of cleaner energy source The Roanoke Times, 10 January 2006. Another letter from Alden Hathaway restating his mantra that wind can replace coal for electric generation.
- Citizens group building case against wind towers in Greenbrier County, WV The Mountain Messenger, 7 January 2006. There are some excellent quotes in this short article. Scroll down it is the fourth article on this page.
- Statement by Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV) to the National Academy of Sciences, committee on wind energy projects, 14 December 2005, Charleston, WV. This is a very powerful statement in favor of pre-construction studies.
- Residents speak out against wind farm, The Charleston Gazette, 23 November 2005. This in regard to the proposed Beech Run facility in Greenbrier County, WV.
- A Study of Increased Use of Renewable Energy Resources in Virginia, Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, Michael Karmis, Editor, 11 November 2005, 107 pp. [1.22 MB] Wind energy is a prominent part of this report, which mainly concludes that more study is needed.
A New Spin on Wind Distributed power, a dream of the 1970s, might come to roost on city rooftops, by Josh Weil, paintings by Robert Becker, Orion, 24(6), pp. 60-67, Nov-Dec 2005. A long, thoughtful article on small-scale wind development.
- Wind Energy: A Lethal Crisis, Bat Conservation Times, October 2005
Windpower and Raptors: An Unsolved Issue, David Brandes, Lafayette College [593 kB]
- Letter to H. T. McBride from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, 28 September 2005, suggesting that multi-year, pre-construction studies should be carried out to determine potential effects on wildlife. [339 kB]
- More on Wind, Editorial, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 25 September 2005.
- Americas Needs: New Energy Policy Doesnt Go Far Enough, by Richard Hirsch, Guest Columnist, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2 September 2005.
Shooting Down the Breeze The promise of wind power has been impeded by species-protection scandals and a lack of public trust, by Mischa Gaus, In These Times, 2 September 2005.
- Wind Farms: Highland Debate Continues to Generate Much Controversy, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 28 August 2005 Eight letters to the editor in response to the Brody and Miles columns two weeks ago. [96 kB]
- Build Elsewhere?: Wind Turbines Would Hurt Highland, by Tom Brody, Guest Columnist, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 14 August 2005. [88 kB]
- Wind Row Wind Would Aid State Generation, by Jonathan Miles, Guest Columnist, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 14 August 2005. [100 kB]
- Wind is not the air apparent, Guest Editorial by Bruce Waugh, The Kansas City Star, 16 August 2005. This is one of the best statements I have come across.
- Cherishing Our Rural Landscape by Deborah Huso, Co-operative Living on-line, May 2005.
- Cornell halts planning for wind project, by Jennie Daley, The Ithaca Journal, 30 April 2005.
- This French web site shows many of the disasters that have befallen turbines, including fires and blowdowns. The text is French but the photos speak in any language.
- We Oppose Windfarms is a new group in Franklin County, NY, north of the Adirondacks on the Canadian border. They are probably facing problems similar to ours in Highland County.
- Wind farms need closer look, Mollohan says, by Paul J. Nyden, Charleston Gazette-Mail, 4 April 2005. Rep. Alan Mollohan believes state officials should take a closer look at the impact wind turbines will have on areas that are major tourist attractions.
- Policies to Promote Non-hydro Renewable Energy in the United States and Selected Countries, U. S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, February 2005. [404 kB]
- Critique of the above report by Glenn Schleede, 26 March 2005. [118 kB] The EIA has abondoned its typical position as a data source to assume an advocacy position in this report.
- Community Wind Financing, A Handbook by Charles Kubert of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, Chicago. [724 kB] This report gives a good overview of the many ways wind projects can benefit from the federal and state tax codes.
Big wind, small state, is an editorial in the Burlington [VT] Free Press, 13 March 2005. Vermonts Public Service Board begins technical hearings on wind power this week. It can also be found on the BFPs special wind page.
- County denies EnXco wind farm Commissioners: Impacts are too great, by Mike Johnston, The Daily Record, Ellensburg, WA, 10 March 2005. An earlier report on this project is posted below, 28 December.
Tilting at windmills Wind power growing in state, 6 March 2005, and
State raises wind farm concerns Criticizing developers research, report cites threat to birds, bats near Horicon, 9 March 2005, both articles by Lee Bergquist in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. Horicon Marsh is one of the countrys most important wetlands for migrating waterfowl and is also near the largest bat hibernaculum in Wisconsin. 133 turbines are planned.
- Federal Renewable Energy Legislation and a Great New Way to Track It blogspot.com, 4 March 2005. Included is a proposal for national RPS and extension of the PTC.
- A letter to The Pendleton Times, 3 March 2005, p. 4, quotes a neighbor of the Backbone Mountain wind plant on the quality of life near industrial-scale turbines.
- Health, hazard, and quality of life near wind power installations How close is too close?, Nina Pierpont, M.D., 1 March 2005.
- Wind Turbines & Infrasound: What the latest research says, Malone [NY] Telegram, 26 February 2005, is a related article also sent by Dr. Pierpont.
- Backers must be realistic about wind-power pitfalls, editorial, The Pantagraph, Bloomington-Normal, IL, 27 February 2005. People who think wind energy can significantly replace the need for conventional power plants are fooling themselves . . .
- Save our ridgelines, is an editorial in the Burlington [VT] Free Press, 24 February 2005. In many ways Vermont is to the nation what Highland County is to Virginia. Practically every point in this editorial could be recast to apply here.
- This is a page of links to articles and editorials in the Burlington Free Press on wind power dating back to 2003. There is a lot of good stuff here.
- Renewable Energy Bill Killed In House, by Brenden Timpe, Grand Forks [ND] Herald, 18 February 2005. Although I do not want to speak to the appropriateness of wind power in North Dakota, this seems to be a small win for taxpayers and electricity ratepayers in that state.
- Germany shelves report on high cost of wind-produced energy, by Tony Paterson, The Daily Telegraph, United Kingdom, 30 January 2005. A damning report warning that wind farms will greatly increase energy costs and that greenhouse gases can be reduced easily by conventional methods has been shelved. The findings of the 490-page report, commissioned by the German government and due for publication last week, were so embarrassing that ministers have sent it back to be re-edited.
- The dark sides of wind power, by Eleanor Tillinghast, North Adams Transcript, 26 January 2005. This article discusses the health effects and other ramifications of noise and flashing lights from nearby (and not so near) turbines.
- The Good and the Bad Regarding Wind Energy, 20 January 2005, a press release from the office of Rep. Frank Miller (R-KS 12th). He is a Kansas state representative, not a congressman in Washington, so he cannot do much to help us gain traction nationally as I had hoped. Still, it is a very good position paper and worthy of wide circulation.
- Blowing in the wind, Editorial, Staunton News Leader, 20 January 2005.
- Highland debates wind energy, by Joel Baird, Staunton News Leader, 17 January 2005. Subtitled Windmill proposal meets turbulence. The article contains one significant error The production tax credit actually amounts to about $50K/year/MW of installed capacity.
- Whirlwind of trouble, by Thomas Tanton, The Rocky Mountain News, Denver, CO, 15 January 2005. Subtitled Wind energy has several financial, environmental disadvantages.
- Gamesa picks Cambria, by Jeff McCready, The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, PA, 15 January 2005. Spanish turbine manufacturer is building a blade plant in PA, ramping up the pressure to develop wind power.
- Windmills blowing smoke, The Baltimore Sun, 10 January 2005. Editorial noting excessive hype from wind industry.
- Wind Beneath Their Wings, The Washington Post, 10 January 2005, p. A16. Letter from Randall Swisher, AWEA, in response to Justin Blums article on Jan 1.
- The Republican News, Garrett Co., MD, 7 January 2005. Letter from Jon Boone supporting his brother, Dan, in regard to public attacks from wind-energy supporters.
- Los Angeles utilitys touted Green Power program running out of steam, James Nash, The Daily News, Los Angeles, 6 January 2005. [90 kB] People are dropping out of LAs wind-power promotional program.
- Wind-energy developer bought, by Greg Edwards, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5 January 2005. Atlantic Renewable Energy Corp. of Richmond has been bought by PPM Energy of Portland, OR, an agressive developer of wind projects in the west.
- Bat Conservation International, memo by Merlin Tuttle, 4 January 2005, regarding bat mortality from wind turbines. [285 kB]
- Wind turbines taking toll on birds of prey, by John Ritter, USA Today, 4 January 2005, regarding the large wind plant at Altamont Pass, CA.
- Ill wind blows in turbine debate, by Tom Pelton, Baltimore Sun, 2 January 2005. Reporting mainly on the controversy over Backbone Mountain in Garrett County.
- Researchers Alarmed by Bat Deaths From Wind Turbines, by Justin Blum, Washington Post, 1 January 2005, p. A01
- Outgoing commissioner upbraids EnXco, by Tim Engstrom, The Daily Record, Ellensburg, WA, 28 December 2004. [97 kB] While far afield from our local concerns, this describes an interesting interplay between county officials, a state agency, and two developers. PG13(L) Comments by a local activist and several web links are appended.
- New Jersey acting Governor Richard Codey has placed a 15-month moratorium on off-shore wind projects in NJ and has named a nine-member panel to study the matter. They will hold public hearings and issue a report in March 2006. From Gannett News, published 24 December 2004. From a clipping with no precise reference to the newspaper.
- If current budget language is adopted The National Acedemy of Sciences will conduct a study of the environmental impacts of Appalachian wind projects.
- While not recently updated, this site has some interesting info on a TVA wind installation. There is a chart that shows an average efficiency of about 22% for these turbines on a site of unknown quality.
- A report to the American Bar Association, Renewable Energy Committee by Ed Feo of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLC on 15 December 2004 indicates that (4th slide) tax benefits provide 2/3rd of value of wind energy projects. [305 kB]
- Jon Boone of Oakland, MD, who is with the group trying to block the extension of the Backbone project into MD, has written a short piece that explains why wind is largely irrelevant as an energy source in the east.
- Wind power backed in Garrett Co., MD, 8 December 2004. An AP report says the county commission has approved two major projects in the westernmost county of Maryland and adjoining the Mountaineer project in WV.
- RenewableEnergyAccess.com in an article, Kansas Governor Halts Wind Power in Tallgrass Prairies, reports that Governor Kathleen Sebelius called on wind energy developers to hold off temporarily on projects in the Flint Hills area in order to preserve the tallgrass prairie ecosystem there. 2 December 2004.
- Jim Balow in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, 28 November 2004, updates his 3 October article about bat mortality. Time is running out for bats as new tax credit promotes the expansion of turbine projects. [139 kB]
- Wind Energy in Virginia - A Balanced Approach is a paper by The Virginia Conservation Network, a statewide coalition of over 100 conservation organizations, calling for a General Assembly study of environmental issues related to wind development.
- Rick Webb, in an op-ed piece in the Roanoke Times, 21 November 2004, Wind Energy Has Pluses and Minuses, makes the point that we need a credible environmental assessment process to insure that wind development is in the public interest and that no such process exists today on the state level.
- Lara Skinner of RenewableEnergyAccess.com, 9 November 2004, Preliminary Study Tackles Wind Power, Bat Issues, reports on the bat mortality study at the Mountaineer facilty undertaken by Bat Conservation International. There is a form at the end of the article for readers to send comments that will be posted. They seem to be taking the bat issue seriously while at the same time minimizing the impact of wind turbines on the overall picture of wildlife mortality.
- Calvin R. Trice in the Richmond Times Dispatch, 22 October 2004, reports on the public hearing on our zoning ordinance: Wind farm plans opposed in Highland.
- Sid Perkins in Science News, V. 166, N. 16, p. 246, 16 October 2004, in a report titled Change in the Weather? Wind farms might affect local climates indicates that large groups of power-generating windmills could have a small but detectable influence on a regions climate.
- Eileen McNamara in the Boston Globe, 17 October 2004, comments on the defeat of Sen. Warners amendment. See link below.
- Timothy Barmann in the Providence Journal, 7 October 2004, reports on an amendment to a defense bill offered by Sen. John Warner (R-VA) that would place a moratorium on offshore wind development until adequate studies are done to protect the public interest.
- Questions asked of HNWD by the Highland Supervisors and the answers given, 5 October 2004. [95 kB] If your browser opens this with a magnified view please click the Zoom icon and reset it to 100% for the easiest reading.
- Rep. Richard W. Pombo, Chairman of the House Committee on Resources, writes to Interior Secretary Norton requesting that use of the Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines on wind turbines be suspended, 4 October 2004.
Appended to this letter is a list of recipients of American Wind Energy Political Action Committee donations, including Rep. Pombo, and additional information about WindPac. [148 kB]
- Jim Balow in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, 3 October 2004, reports massive bat mortality at the Backbone Mountain project in Tucker County, WV. [117 kB] This article indicates that it should be four pages but there are actually only three; it is complete as presented.
- James M. Taylor in Environment News, 1 September 2004, reports that West Virginia congressmen are requesting a GAO study on the impacts of wind power. See link below, 22 June. [103 kB]
- Letter to the Potomac News by John Sweet, 30 August 2004, response to 17 Aug editorial criticizing wind opponents. Im not sure this was published.
- Green Realism, editorial in the Richmond Times Dispatch, 26 August 2004, generally favorable to wind opponents.
- A Mighty Wind, editorial in the Potomac News, 17 August 2004, critical and derisive of wind opponents.
- Letter to the Staunton News Leader by Patti Reum and Tom Brody, 14 August 2004, in response to a critical editorial on 8 August. We do not have a copy of the original editorial.
- Letter to the News Leader by John Sweet, 11 August 2004, response to 8 Aug editorial. Im not sure if this was actually published.
- In a letter to Rep. Alan B. Mollahan (D-WV), 20 July 2004, the
US Fish and Wildlife Service states that it is not currently conducting independent studies related to wind impacts on migratory birds or bats in the Northeast. Instead, we have been requesting information from project proponents.... However, the wind inustry has been generally reluctant to conduct studies and provide such information. [Hence] we are not able to perform our regulatory and advisory roles in licensing domestic wind energy projects.... [130 kB]
- In a letter to the General Accounting Office, 22 June 2004, Reps. Nick J. Rahall and Alan B. Mollohan (both D-WV), request that the GAO conduct studies on the impacts of wind energy development in the Appalachian Mountains, particularly West Virginia. [158 kB]
- Dont be fooled by wind powers green image, by David Van Tassel, The Land Institute, 25 March 2004. This is a really excellent article.
- Environmentally Unfriendly Wind Power A Personal Opinion, Dr. V. C. Mason, 18 February 2004. Discusses the wind power situation in the UK with reference to the extensive wind development in Denmark. [109 kB]
- Letter from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, 14 October 2003, suggesting that extensive wildlife studies need to be done prior to construction of the HNWD project.
- Two articles by G.P. van den Berg, University of Groningen, Netherlands, discuss noise emissions from wind turbines and why they are amplified at night. The first, Wind turbines at night: acoustical practice and sound research [151 kB; link revised Aug 2005], is a paper presented at a conference in 2003. The second, Effects of the wind profile at night on wind turbine sound [624 kB], is a longer technical paper in the Journal of Sound and Vibration, 2003.
- Military concerns force DOE to cancel Nevada wind project, Greenwire, 18 July 2002, reports that wind turbine blades are perfect jammers for radar systems and that the Air Force expressed concern that the proposed turbines would interfere with its fighter pilot training [at Nellis AFB] as well as cause problems with its radar system. This would seem to have implications for the HNWD project in that it would be situated in a region used for low-level combat training.
John R. Sweet, Mustoe, VA
Part of the Backbone Mountain project in Tucker County, WV. These are reported to be 345 feet high (not 285 as previously stated here) while those proposed for Highland are expected to be 400 feet high. Photo by Sandy Hevener, who also provided the photo for the title block.
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