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Industrial Wind Power in the Mountains of Virginia  

Author:  | Emissions, Environment, U.S., Virginia, Wildlife

Overstated Benefits and Understated Costs

The attached brochure is provided as a counterpoint to the Virginia State Wind Symposium at James Madison University on June 18th and 19th [2008].

This symposium is sponsored by the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative (VWEC), a state and federally funded organization that purports to promote balanced development of wind generated electricity in Virginia. The symposium, however, is remarkably unbalanced.

Although concerns have been widely raised about the overstated benefits and understated costs of industrial-scale wind development on our region’s mountain ridges, it is apparent that these concerns will not be fairly addressed at the VWEC symposium.

Those sessions of the symposium that might provide an opportunity for a balanced treatment of the issues are dominated by ardent wind energy advocates, entrepreneurs, and lobbyists. The agenda includes no one to present a countering viewpoint.

Six of the speakers and session moderators are on record supporting the controversial Highland New Wind Project either before the State Corporation Commission or in the media. These include Jonathan Miles, Deborah Jacobsen, Don Giecek, Mitch King, John Flora, and Frank Maisano.

Remarkably, the only speaker addressing the wildlife impacts of wind energy development is John Flora, the attorney and spokesman for the proposed Highland project. Mr. Flora has been dismissive of wildlife impacts – despite concerns expressed by state agency biologists that the project presents unacceptable risks to wildlife and may result in the highest mortality of birds and bats among wind projects in the eastern United States.

It seems that the purpose of the symposium is to discount legitimate concerns about wind development on Virginia’s mountain ridges, to promote unrealistic expectations for wind energy, and to foster a political climate that will favor additional mandates and incentives for the wind industry – while reducing environmental review requirements.

It is disappointing that state government and a state university have chosen to support and participate in this biased treatment of an increasingly important issue.

Contacts: Rick Webb (540) 468-2881, – Dan Boone (301) 464-5199,

Industrial Wind Power in the Mountains of Virginia: Overstated Benefits and Understated Costs

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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