STATUS: Completed, with substantial delays
OPPOSITION: Local residents (Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy; Jeffrey and Alicia Eisenbeiss)
BACKGROUND: Invenergy proposed to construct 119 giant wind turbines on 23 miles of mountain ridges located about 9 miles east of Rupert. The project was estimated to cost $300 million. Construction of the project was anticipated to take about seven months and create about 200 jobs and between 15 and 29 full-time, permanent jobs.
Construction began in mid 2009. The project however incited opposition, particularly in Greenbrier County. A NIMBY group called the Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, comprised mostly of property owners adjacent to the project sight, fought the construction of the wind farm from its inception. They argued that the wind farm would decrease property values, spoil scenic views and could potentially kill endangered bats.
A federal district judge ruled that while Invenergy could complete the construction of the 40 windmills currently under construction, others could not be built until the company applied for and received a permit to allow incidental kills of Indiana Bats from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Beech Ridge entered into a settlement agreement with the wildlife groups and environmentalists that allows the company to build 27 additional turbines and to operate the turbines during times of the day and year when bats normally are not flying and would not be at risk of being killed by the turbines.
The project was became operational in September 2010. As completed, the wind farm consists of 67 turbines and generates 100.5-megawatts.
SOURCES: Gowindsolutions.com: http://gowindsolutions.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=190:west-virginia-gives-go-ahead-for-beech-ridge-wind-farm&catid=34:latest-news&Itemid=50;
Renewable Energy Development: http://renewableenergydev.com/red/beech-ridge-wind-farm-west-virginia/
Last updated December 3, 2010