The planned expansion of the Beech Ridge Wind Farm in western Greenbrier County moved a step closer to gaining approval from state regulators Thursday.
At the conclusion of a public hearing in Charleston, the state Public Service Commission requested that Beech Ridge Energy II LLC submit a proposed order, which will then be either accepted or modified by the commission, according to Susan Small, the agency’s spokeswoman.
Thursday’s hearing was relatively brief, in part because no one from the public appeared in protest of the 33-turbine expansion and in part because Beech Ridge, the West Virginia Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO and the PSC staff had entered into a joint stipulation and agreement for settlement prior to the hearing.
The signed agreement was hand-delivered to the PSC Wednesday.
“The commission likes it when the parties reach an agreement,” Small said, adding that commissioners also took note that there was little opposition to Beech Ridge’s proposal.
She said June 20 is the deadline for the commission to issue a ruling in the case, which involves an application for a siting certificate for a wholesale electric generating facility.
Invenergy, Beech Ridge’s parent company, announced plans last year to erect 33 more turbines on Mead Westvaco-owned property just west of the company’s existing 67-turbine installation.
While the wind farm was once a point of controversy in Greenbrier County, the opposition appears to have waned. Only three residents spoke during a 20-minute January public meeting staged in Rainelle to gather input and provide information on the proposed expansion. All of the speakers favored the project.
The agreed settlement presented to the PSC by Beech Ridge includes such mundane issues as the need for a fence around the substation and locks on the turbine doors, as well as more project-specific requirements such as compliance with the Endangered Species Act.
According to the settlement, the joint stipulation “results from a review of all filings in this case, the Parties’ prefiled testimony, and discovery and discussion. It reflects compromises by the Parties and the withdrawal of their respective positions asserted in this case, and is being proposed to avoid costly litigation between the Parties.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding