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Wind project in Highland goes before SCC

A proposed wind-power project in Highland County goes before the State Corporation Commission today – and opponents are lined up to raise their objections to the developers’ plans to place 20 400-foot turbines in Laurel Fork.

“This project is simply a bad investment for the wind industry and a bad precedent for the Commonwealth,” said Rick Webb, co-manager of the advocacy group Virginia Wind and co-author of a National Academies report on environmental impacts of wind projects.

“If it goes forward, it can only damage the concept of green energy,” Webb said.

The Highland New Wind Development project would be the first utility-scale wind project in the Commonwealth – if the developers can convince state regulators of the need for the wind farm in the face of mounting suggestions that the farm would have a series of harmful effects on the environment.

Opponents have highlighted a study that estimates that as many as 64,000 bats will be killed annually given the number of wind turbines projected for construction by 2020 throughout the Mid-Atlantic Highlands – and that the Highland project would provide less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the state’s annual electricity needs.

by Chris Graham

The New Dominion

17 July 2007