Preliminary work on one of the largest proposed wind farms in the state has begun on land adjacent to the Dominion Power Plant at Mount Storm in Grant County.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has issued a storm water permit to NedPower/ Shell WindEnergy for a site on Grassy Ridge Road along the edge of Mount Storm Lake where a $300 million, 200-turbine wind farm is planned.
According to Pam Nixon of the DEP, the permit is required when anyone disturbs more than an acre of ground for construction purposes.
“It is a temporary permit and is required before the ground can be disturbed,” she said, adding that once the construction is completed, the area will have to be stabilized and reseeded.
“All necessary permits have been granted for the project and NedPower Mount Storm LLC has certified to the West Virginia Public Service Commission that all of the certificate’s requirements necessary for construction have been met,” said Tim O’Leary, spokesman for Shell WindEnergy, which will operate the NedPower wind electric-generating turbine farm at Mount Storm.
“Some preliminary activities have begun on the project,” he added.
The project has faced opposition in the form of lawsuits against the wind farm from several citizen groups. A suit was dismissed earlier this year by Mineral County Circuit Judge Phil Jordan, who noted that the PSC has exclusive jurisdiction over the issues raised by the suit.
Megan Grose of the DEP said the temporary permit will be in effect until the area in which the work is taking place is stabilized and inspectors will be on the site throughout the period of construction and again after the site is stabilized before the permit can be terminated.
She said that 70 percent of the site must have vegetative covering or paving or gravel and that no earth can be exposed.
“It’s primarily for erosion and sediment control,” Grose said.
If the project is not completed within a year, it will have to go out on public comment again, she said.
Grose said that the site has to be stabilized within 21 days of the end of temporary or permanent construction. But if construction is going to resume within 21 days, the site does not have to be stabilized.
The project has been out for public comment twice, Grose said, the first time after the initial application and again after some revisions were made.
The 200 wind turbines are proposed on land adjacent to and near the coal-fired Dominion power plant.
by Mona Ridder
Mona Ridder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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