KEYSER, W.Va. – While concerns that wind turbines on Green Mountain will ruin the viewshed were the most voiced topic, area residents had an opportunity to consider a lot of information about the proposed project during an open house at the Wind Lea Conference Center Monday.
“I think they are wonderful as long as they are somewhere else,” said Scott Clay of the project which proposes 30 turbines along the ridge that is Green Mountain overlooking New Creek Valley in Mineral County.
Greg Trainor also voiced his concern about the view. “I love the mountain and I don’t want to look up there and see 30 whirlygigs,” he said, adding that the wind projects are just another way for the state to be taken.
“We don’t want to squander our view for a few dollars,” he said, to which Clay added, “or 30 pieces of silver.”
Trainor said that West Virginia has a history of giving away its wealth.
“We sold all our coal because we didn’t appreciate its value,” said Clay. “We need a lot more money.”
He also said that without some pressing world interest that would require the wind turbines, it is like “putting a mustache on the Mona Lisa” to deface the mountains of the state with them.
Trainor added that the wildlife damage is not even being considered. “They aren’t even cooperating with the bat studies,” he said, referring to US WindForce.
But not everyone at the informational meeting agreed with Clay and Trainor.
David and Darlene Frederick had questions concerning the so-called “flicker effect” and the noise that emanates from the turbines.
Both said they got the answers they wanted and those answers did not affect their positive position on wind energy.
“I think they are great,” said Darlene Frederick. “We have to look at other resources for our energy.”
She said that she likes the looks of the wind turbines.
She said as for wildlife issues, there are more deer killed by cars and trucks than birds and bats are likely to be killed because of the turbines.
Frederick also pointed out the noise in the room during the meeting was a lot higher than the noise from a rotating turbine blade.
Jim Barnes of Acentech said his company has done studies on the noise levels and while many people are more sensitive than others to certain noises, the best thing for people to do is to go to an area where there are operating turbines and listen to the sound.
The informational open house was hosted by US Windforce officials and Ann Green Communications.
Ann Green said that her company’s role in the project is that of community outreach. “We want to bring the community in and have them tell us what they want and don’t want to see happen,” she said.
In addition to Barnes, also on hand to answer questions concerning real estate values and whether they are affected by nearby turbine projects was Bruce Hyre, a realtor and appraiser from Grant County, who provided the statistics of property sales in the Mount Storm area where a large project is already operating, as well as Mineral County and other areas.
He said they now have a history with the Mount Storm project that will allow them to make better comparisons.
WindForce officials, CEO Dave McAnally, CFO Mike Dolan, Vice President for Sales and Marketing Dave Friend, Vice President for Project Development Jim Cookman and Vice President for Operations Joe Trainor were on hand to answer a variety of questions concerning the project.
Dolan discussed federal tax credits for wind projects that will expire next December unless Congress renews the legislation.
He said that should the tax credits not be renewed there could be a lag in the project but that Edison Mission, an independent power producer that will operate the project, has made a commitment to go forward, with or without the tax credits.
“What will happen is that we will have to replace the tax credits with revenue,” he said.
There was literature available to those who attended the open house that describe the turbines which are Mitsubishi wind generators made in Nagasaki, Japan. The turbine towers measure 262.5 feet at hub height and the rotor diameter is 311.7 feet. They are 2.4 megawatt generators.
The Pinnacle Project is planned to generate about 215 million kilowatt-hours per year.
The power generated will enter the electric grid through an existing transmission line that crosses the property, according to US WindForce officials.
6 May 2008
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