May 4, 2012
West Virginia

Construction suspended on AES Grant County wind farm

By Pam Kasey, The State Journal, 3 May 2012

AES Corp. has suspended construction on its New Creek project in Grant County pending the resolution of permitting issues with the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We suspended construction because it didn’t appear we could get this solved in time to put the turbines vertical,” said AES Managing Director Charles Falter. The company is headquartered in Arlington, Va.

AES New Creek is a 160-megawatt wind project located south of Keyser.

AES filed for and received an FAA determination of no hazard to air navigation in 2008, Falter said, based on the preliminary layout of the turbines.

However, that determination has to be reapplied for if the turbines are moved even a few feet, he said.

AES reapplied on completion of its engineering late last year, he said, and found that the project did not meet new FAA criteria with regard to VOR – very high frequency omnidirectional radio signal, a ground-based navigation system for aircraft.

Construction had begun, Falter said, and was suspended.

It will take most of 2012 to resolve the issue, he said, although he added that it is “absolutely solvable – the FAA agrees with us on that.”

AES had planned to have the New Creek project in commercial operation by December of this year; Falter said that has been pushed back to 2013.

He said it’s a good site for a wind project.

“It’s got a great wind resource and has a great interconnection point on the system that connects to existing 500-kilovolt transmission line,” he said. “The combination of those things make it really a great location for a wind project so we’re looking forward to getting the project up and running.”

AES also developed the Laurel Mountain project, a 98-mw wind farm that went into commercial operation in Barbour and Randolph counties in October.

Laurel Mountain received media attention for its 32 megawatts of electricity storage capacity, an array of batteries that evens the output of the facility by storing power, then letting it out for some minutes at a time. It was at the time and possibly still is the world’s largest utility electricity storage facility.

AES New Creek originally was proposed to consist of 64 2.5-mw wind turbines, but may be reconfigured to be made up of 51 turbines and 32 megawatts of storage, according to documents filed with regional grid manager PJM Interconnection. Falter said that decision has not yet been made.

The company also filed documents in 2011 notifying PJM that it is studying a project that would connect with the grid in Randolph County. No further information is available.

URL to article: