As more and more wind turbine projects are being proposed for Virginia and surrounding states, we tend to hear from those who are either passionately opposed to wind turbines on our mountain ridges or from those who are vigorously in support of them (usually because they stand to gain monetarily.)
On Jan. 31, The Recorder newspaper printed an interview that Judge Theodore “Ted” V. Morrison Jr. gave to Anne Adams, staff writer for the paper. He was one of three commissioners on Virginia’s State Corporation Commission, which recently approved Virginia’s first industrial wind project in Highland County over well-organized protests from residents and landowners. Morrison has been on the SCC for 19 years and is very familiar with electric utilities and related subjects. Prior to his work on the SCC, he served in the House of Delegates.
It is interesting to see what Judge Morrison had to say in the interview, because although he was a member of the commission that certified Highland New Wind Development LLC’s facility, he is personally less than enthusiastic about wind energy.
To quote the article in The Record: Morrison stressed the federal production tax credits are what make commercial wind facilities attractive, but the reality is the renewable electricity utilities will never substantially change the country’s need for larger power plants.
Morrison believes renewable power won’t provide enough electricity in this country to make a dent in the need for large utilities, and HNWD’s small facility will be a drop in the bucket.
So there you have it, the testimony of an SCC commissioner who apparently can see no earthly benefit to allowing commercial wind facilities. I realize that the people who stand to gain millions at taxpayer expense cannot be dissuaded from foisting wind projects on the rest of us. But I hope Judge Morrison’s views will cause those who haven’t really cared one way or the other about wind power to sit back and think.
PAULA VOLENTINE Riverton, W.Va.
9 March 2008
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