CO Wind project suspended
Credit: Heather Mullinix | Crossville Chronicle | June 12, 2017 | www.crossville-chronicle.com ~~
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The controversial wind turbine project planned for eastern Cumberland County has been suspended by the developer.
Apex Clean Energy announced the decision Friday afternoon.
“Based on current market conditions and the project’s fundamental qualities, we have decided not to make this significant investment at this time,” Harry Snyder, development manager, wrote. “Our work on the Crab Orchard Wind project will be therefore suspended until market conditions change to make the project more competitive.”
The estimated $100 million project was first announced in January 2016. The Charlottesville, VA-based energy company had proposed to build 20 to 23 wind turbines to produce 71 megawatts of power annually.
Snyder said Apex continues to evaluate prospective projects throughout the development phase.
“There are several important inflection points at which we determine whether the fundamental attributes of the project support a continuing investment in that project,” Snyder wrote. “We have come to such an inflection point on the Crab Orchard Wind project.”
The Tennessee General Assembly approved a 15-month moratorium on industrial wind farm projects in the state to allow time for a special committee to study possible regulations for wind energy construction projects.
State Rep. Cameron Sexton proposed the bill that was approved in April. The committee is to include representatives from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and other stakeholders. They will be tasked with returning to the General Assembly in January with recommendation. Wind energy projects were to be paused until July 2018.
Tennessee is one of just four states in the nation with no state regulations on wind power.
The proposed Crab Orchard Wind project came under fire from local residents who cited concerns about noise the turbines could produce; potential negative effects on property values and future growth; possible health effects; negative environmental impact, particularly on bird and bat populations; and a negative impact on tourism.
Sen. Lamar Alexander and other state leaders opposed the project. The Fairfield Glade Community Club and Crossville City Council both passed resolutions in opposition to the development.
Residents sought a similar resolution from the Cumberland County Commission, but repeated attempts failed to pass. In November 2016, the commission approved a resolution asking the state to pass legislation regarding industrial wind turbine projects.
The resolution encouraged the Tennessee General Assembly to pass legislation regarding the impact such developments may have on local wildlife and ecological factors and seek to preserve scenic lands from such “unsightly” structures.
It asks the state to consider a state application process as well as ecological, environmental and health risks studies prior to approval.
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