Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 24, 2009

Dominion and BP Wind Energy officials encourage ridgeline ordinance

BLUEFIELD — The wind turbines planned for East River Mountain could be operational as early as 2012, according to company officials.

During a meeting Tuesday with members of the Daily Telegraph’s editorial board, representatives of Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America Inc. said they welcomed a proposed ridgeline protection ordinance being considered by the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, but also conceded the ordinance as currently proposed has the potential to kill the East River Mountain wind turbine project.

“What Tazewell County is going through now, we encourage it,” Jim Madden, business developer of alternative energy for BP, said. “If there is no ordinance in place, we would seek to have an ordinance.”

“We are actually supportive of an ordinance, but perhaps not the one in place,” Emil Avram, director of generation business development for Dominion, said.

Avram said Dominion and BP are hoping to work with Tazewell County officials in developing a suitable ordinance. Madden said a mountain ridge overlay district being considered by the Bluefield, Va., Town Council could also indirectly impact the project — even though the wind turbines won’t be located in the municipal limits of Bluefield, Va.

Madden said if the project receives local and state approval, construction of the wind turbines would take two to three years. He said the earliest the project could be operational is 2012.

Madden said the Tazewell County project is envisioned as a 70 to 80 megawatt facility. Madden said a 60 megawatt facility would generate approximately $600,000 in property and real estate taxes for Tazewell County during the first year of operation. It would depreciate over time for roughly 20 years. By the fifth year of operation, tax revenue generated for the project would be estimated at $464,914. By the tenth year of operation, tax revenue would fall to $273,674.

Although the wind turbine project would connect to the regional grid, electricity generated by the project also would be used for Tazewell County, Avram said.

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