The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

January 13, 2013

Support voiced for wind farm expansion

The controversy over the Beech Ridge Wind Farm seems to have died down in Greenbrier County, if a public hearing dealing with the facility’s proposed expansion is any indication.

Only three residents spoke out at the 20-minute public hearing staged in Rainelle, according to Kevin E. Parzyck, vice president for development at Invenergy, the wind farm’s parent company. More telling, he said, is that all three speakers voiced support for the construction of 33 additional turbines on Mead Westvaco-owned property just west of the existing 67-turbine installation.

“Beech Ridge represents the kind of work we do well,” Parzyck said.

Interviewed at the courthouse Friday, Greenbrier County Commissioner Michael McClung said, “I’ve always been supportive of the project. On balance, this is a positive thing for Greenbrier County.”

McClung pointed to the construction jobs the project has already created and, if the expansion is approved by the state Public Service Commission, will continue to create. He also noted the positive impact of the substantial tax revenue the county reaps from the wind farm.

Commission President Karen Lobban also praised Beech Ridge’s developers, saying, “They have my total support. We’re happy to have them.”

Previous objections to the rows of windmills perched atop western Greenbrier ridges have focused on the potential damage to the habitat of endangered bats and on aesthetic concerns.

Invenergy is currently in the process of obtaining a bat “taking” permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a step required in a settlement agreement reached in a lawsuit filed by environmental activists.

Parzyck said, while the Wildlife Service permit process is lengthy, he believes the end is now in sight.

As for the proposed expansion of Beech Ridge, the PSC will conduct an evidentiary hearing at Commission headquarters in Charleston Feb. 28 and, if necessary, March 1. According to Parzyck, the PSC’s target date for issuing a ruling on the expansion is the end of April.

While the company has no specific schedule for the expansion, Parzyck said construction needs to begin before the end of this year in order for Invenergy to tap into federal tax credits for the clean energy project.

He said the company hopes the expansion will be complete by the end of 2014.

Written comments on the proposed Beech Ridge Wind Farm expansion are still being accepted by the PSC. Those comments — marked with Case No. 12-1196-E-CS — should be mailed to Sandra Squire, Executive Secretary, P.O. Box 812, Charleston, WV 25323.

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday. The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.

     

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.

     

    August 1, 2014

  • New rules to fight black lung disease kick in today

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years.  Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • target red Zero tolerance Target Red campaign hopes to lessen intersection crashes

    It happens every day. A driver hurries on his or her way to work, school or maybe nowhere in particular. Just ahead, a green light turns yellow. With a little more gas, the vehicle just might be able to clear the intersection before that light turns red. Or maybe not. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • derby dames Beckley area Derby Dames to host WFTDA team Aug. 9

    The Beckley Area Derby Dames will face off against a WFTDA-certified team, the Harrisonburg, Va., Rocktown Rollers, Aug. 9 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • phil roop Artisans show off skills at String Band Festival

    The Appalachian String Band Festival celebrates the music of the mountains each year.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Calendar — Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

    August 1, 2014

  • VA clinic to remain closed

    The Department of Veterans Affairs Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic will remain closed due to ongoing correction of environmental concerns. 

    August 1, 2014

  • Beckley festival seeking vendors

    Taste of Appalachia is seeking restaurants, vendors, organizations and churches to participate in the Aug. 23 event. 

    August 1, 2014

  • 080114 FRI TWV multitalented teen.jpg Only 13, Shady Spring and TWV teen has big resume

    Well-rounded is an understatement for 13-year-old Rachel McNeel. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo