There was finally confirmation today on the windmill far in the Wardensville area. The local paper, the Moorefield Examiner, came out with a frontpage article yesterday with maps and information related to the windmills. It looks like it's much larger than the rumor I heard. Windmills would begin approximately in the Lost River area on Great North Mountain with 131 windmills going south into Rockingham, Co near Broadway, Va. While all of these would be on the same mountain, 90 windmills would have bases in VA while 41 would have bases in WV. There would be a second round of windmills installed in Shenandoah in what appear to be close to Woodstock, Mt. Jackson and Bryce ski resort.
Here are links to view on this:
(Northern Virginia Daily)
(Daily news Record)
********** Article from the Moorefield Examiner **********
By Joan Ashley
FreedomWorks, LLC of harpers Ferry, is in the pre-application process to construct wind turbines in the George Washington national Forest. There are two wind turbine projects in the pipeline.
A total of 131 turbines would be located in hardy County and Rockingham and Shenandoah counties in Virginia, according to Friends of Beautiful Pendleton Count vice president Larry Thomas who discovered the project while searching the Federal Aviation Agency website.
According to the FreedomWorks Website, the company is a renewable energy development company whose mission is to create and maintain sustainable renewable energy farms for the benefit of U.S. energy independence.
The first proposed project would be constructed on Shenandoah Mountain in Pendleton and hardy counties crossing into a portion of Rockingham County, VA. The second project would be built on Great North Mountain along the West Virginia and Virginia border in Hardy and Shenandoah, Va counties.
"If the projects were allowed to be constructed in the GW national Forest, there would be industrial wind turbines on the mountain top from approximately Route 55 to the north and Route 33 to the south," Thomas said.
The turbines each 440 feet tall would cover 18 miles of ridgecrest, according to private consultant D. Daniel Boone, a conservation biologist and policy analyst.
Ninety turbines would be located in Virginia with the other 41 in hardy County, Boone said.
Boone prepared a map, stipulating each turbine, based upon the coordinates provided in the 7460-4applications filed with the Federal Aviation Agency by FreedomWorks.
Boone also examined Oct. 2006 aerial photos covering the entire ridge length where this proposed project would occur.
"Other than a powerline and one small road (Rt 55) which crosses between hardy and Shenandoah counties, the project area is completely undistrubed forest with no sign of logging roads or cleacuts," Boone stated.
In Boone's estimation, this project "would destroy over 500 acres of forest, and additionally, will cause extensive forest fragmentation likely wiping out over 2500 acres of forest-interior habitat - about four square miles."
Chrise rose, George Washington Jefferson national Forest spokesman, said the project is still in the pre-application stage.
"Before the Forest Service can accept the application, the company must check with relevant government agencies such as the FAA and the Department of Defense," rose said.
Rose said the next step is for the company to submit an application for wind testing.
After getting that clearance, then the company would make formal application to the forest Service for one or two sites, not the entire wind farm, Rose explained.
At that point the forrest Service will begin a resource analysis and solicit pulic input. "Our normal procedure is that we would send out letters to adjacent property owners and put ads in the paper informing the public about the meetings," Rose said.
Again there is no specific time frame on the extent of test, Rose said.
Various tests would be conducted on those sites for such things as "whether the wind turbines would impede birds and bats or whether there is enough wind to sustain the wind turbines," Rose said.
If the testing is approved, the company can make a formal application for the Special Use Permit. That entails another round of public meetings and resource analysis, Rose said.
Final approval would come from the Forrest Service Supervisor in consultation with the District Ranger and other employees, such as engineers and biologists.
"This is not going to happen next week or next month. This is not yet researched - it will take a while for the initial process," Rose said.
Frank Maisano, a principle with the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, represents a coalition of wind developers in the mid-Atlantic region. Maisano told the Moorefield Examiner there are four main reasons to build wind turbines in Hardy County.
- The mid-Atlantic mountain ridges have some of the best winds on the eastern seaboard.
- There is reasonable access to transmission lines. Allegheny Power has two established lines and has proposed building two more.
- National forests are public land and have historically provided mixed uses. They may be an appropriate place for wind turbines.
- The mountain ranges are close to the population centers on the east coast that would use the power.
Maisano said the amount of electricity produced by the proposed wind turbines would be enough to power 250,000 homes. "It is our priority to do this with environmental sensitivity," he said. "We want to do this right."