A state report released today recommended that a proposed windmill project in Highland County go forward.
The 19-windmill project would be Virginia’s first major wind farm.
The report to the commission, by SCC hearing examiner Alexander F. Skirpan Jr., also recommended the commission require the developer to monitor and minimize the windmills’ effects on bats and birds.
The cost of doing that as suggested by Skirpan could top $2 million over the 20-year life of the project, said John Flora, a lawyer representing the developer, Highland New Wind Development.
Flora said he was happy the project got Skirpan’s endorsement. But he said the costs of monitoring and protecting the flying animals could potentially drive away investors.
Highland New Wind, led by retired poultry businessman Henry T. McBride of Harrisonburg, is proposing to build the windmills on two Highland ridges about 150 miles northwest of Richmond.
Supporters say the windmills represent clean energy. Opponents say they would kill birds and bats and mar mountain ridges.
17 October 2007
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