Construction of the $300 million Beech Ridge Energy wind farm is tentatively set for next spring, officials told the Greenbrier County Commission Tuesday.
Dave Groberg, vice-president of Beech Ridge Energy, said barring any unforeseen setbacks, such as delays caused by lawsuits, the Public Service Commission should enter their final order issuing a building permit sometime this fall.
“We have met all of our preconstruction conditions set by the Public Service Commission, “Groberg said. “But hearings will be held by the PSC prior to issuing an order and we would not be able to begin construction until then.
“Depending upon how the PSC hearings go, most likely we will begin construction in the spring of 2009, subject to the approval of the PSC and any other obstacles.”
Groberg said the 133 wind turbines will take about seven months to construct and will create about 229 jobs, of which 15-29 will be full-time permanent jobs.
Groberg specifically appeared before President Lowell Rose and Commissioner Brad Tuckwiller (Commissioner Betty Crookshanks was absent) to assure the governing body that Beech Ridge will fulfill their promise of paying at least $400,000 a year in taxes to the county.
“The governor has changed the way these projects are taxed, and the truth is we will probably end up exceeding the $400,000 per year by a significant amount,” Groberg said. “I hope that will provide Greenbrier County with some confidence.”
Groberg asked the commissioners to sign a letter stating Beech Ridge has agreed to fulfill its tax promise because that was one of the preconditions set by the PSC prior to the issuance of a final order.
By Christian Giggenbach
22 July 2008
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