Roane County officials could weigh in on a proposed wind farm project in neighboring Cumberland County.
Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville, Va., states on its website that it is actively developing Crab Orchard Wind in Cumberland’s Crab Orchard community.
Energy generated from the project could power approximately 20,000 homes annually, according to Apex.
Representing an investment of up to $130 million, Crab Orchard Wind will create jobs and generate an entirely new source of long-term revenue for schools, government, and landowners while creating jobs and boosting economic opportunities for local businesses,” the Apex website states.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., opposes the project.
He expressed his dismay about the project in a May 25 letter to Roane County Executive Ron Woody. Alexander claims the project would destroy the beauty of this state.
“Each of the proposed wind turbines will be over two times as tall as the skyboxes at the University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium,” the letter said, “and when you look at Palm Springs, Calif., littered with wind turbines, we should ask ourselves, ‘Do we really want Tennessee to look like that?'”
Woody said he hasn’t taken a position on the issue. Any formal stance, he said, should come from Roane County Commission.
“I filed the letter with Commission to see if they want to take a position,” Woody said. “I don’t know if they will or not.”
Alexander has urged all Tennesseans to oppose the wind project.
“There are few places in our state more beautiful than Cumberland County,” his letter to Woody said. “We should not allow anyone to destroy the environment in the name of saving it.”
Woody said he believes Alexander made a good point about the wind project’ impact on the area’s aesthetics.
“Once you have a power plant, whether it be wind, solar or whatever, you have to put the grid in,” Woody said. “You have to put all the power lines in to transmit the power.”
Cumberland is to the west of Roane County. Commissioner Darryl Meadows, who represents the Rockwood area, said he hasn’t received any feedback from his constituents about the wind project.
“I think all forms of renewable energy should be explored,” he said. “I think we have to do that.”
Meadows said he understands how the height of the wind turbines could be concern to some.
“I saw a schematic or something of it, and they are huge,” Meadows said. “They’re monsters.”
Roane County Commission Chairman Ron Berry said to his knowledge officials in Cumberland County haven’t reached out to anyone in the Roane County Government requesting opposition to wind farm project.
“That’s what I would do if it were reversed,” Berry said. “I would get support from the counties around me so you had a coalition.”
“We were just in a conference a week-and-a-half ago with commissioners and the mayor from Cumberland County,” Berry added. “That (the wind project) was never mentioned.”
Phone messages left for Crab Orchard Wind Development Manager Harry Snyder weren’t returned by press time Friday.
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