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Botetourt supervisors OK permits for Rocky Forge wind farm

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors approved permits for the Rocky Forge wind farm, which would include 25 windmills on North Mountain in Botetourt County. The property is owned by Jerry Fraley. APEX Clean Energy will lease the property and build the wind farm.

There are 17 items on the conditions list presented by Botetourt County’s planning director, Nicole Pendleton, for APEX to address, including noise, dust, flicker shadow, lighting, updated concept plan, hours of construction, emergency response, a building and a laydown area for construction, decommission, remedies and compliance and dealing with everything from government agencies to neighbors and traffic.

Charles Johnson, project leader for APEX, has previously said that APEX takes seriously the 17 conditions and is also working with agencies after a year-long study of the historical, cultural, natural and wildlife concerns surrounding the project. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the DEQ and the FAA are among the agencies APEX must receive permits from to complete the project. The FAA recently ruled the towers would be too high, but APEX said they are in negotiations with the FAA.

“The public hearing featured over 20 speakers, with all but three speaking for the wind farm,” said Jack Leffel, board of supervisors chairman.

The proposed wind farm would be the first of its kind in the commonwealth of Virginia. The 25 windmills are expected to produce enough electricity for over 20,000 homes. The location is easily accessible to a Dominion Power Transmission line, as well.

An estimated $4.5 million each year is expected to be generated in revenue. APEX hopes the Wind Farm will be up and running by late 2017 if all goes as planned. Charles Johnson of APEX said, “We are excited at the outcome of the project. We are also excited for the state of Virginia and Botetourt County to have the first wind energy farm.”

For more information, visit www.rockyforgewind.com.