Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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October 19, 2009

Waiting in wings on windmills

More companies hope to build on East River Mountain

TAZEWELL, Va. — Several additional companies have inquired about the possibility of building windmills in Tazewell County, officials confirmed Monday.

Although Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America are planning a large-scale wind turbine farm for East River Mountain near Bluefield, other areas of interest for other wind energy companies have included Morris Knob, near Tazewell, and Burkes Garden, according to Board of Supervisors Chairman David Anderson.

Anderson said a preferred wind zone extends all the way from East River Mountain in Bluefield, Va., to Burkes Garden, near Tazewell.

“Other companies have looked and inquired about current regulations, availability and what is going on,” Anderson said. “So there could be other companies that are interested.”

Anderson said he had originally requested for the upcoming Dec. 1 public hearing on the proposed ridgeline protection ordinance to be held in the Eastern District, or near Bluefield, Va. However, board members ultimately decided to hold the hearing at Tazewell High School beginning at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1 because it is a central location — and would accommodate citizens from other communities as well that could be impacted by future windmill projects.

“Yes, I thought about asking for it (the public hearing) to be held in the Eastern District, but with it being a Tazewell County issue, it is only proper to have it in Tazewell,” Anderson said. “It could affect all of Tazewell County. The ridgeline ordinance is for the whole county.”

Anderson said one energy company that met with Tazewell County officials last year is now “sitting back” and waiting to see what happens with the ridgeline ordinance.

Although BP and Dominion have indicated they are not interested in building windmills in the Burkes Garden community, Anderson said other companies could consider the area in the future.

“There have been calls from other energy windmill companies,” Anderson said. “There have been several calls to our county.”

Dominion and BP want to build as many as 60, 400-foot tall windmills along the crest of East River Mountain near Bluefield, Va. The two companies have already received a green light from the Wise County Board of Supervisors for a similar development in Wise County that would involve the construction of 50 to 60 turbines that would produce 150 megawatts of power.

— Contact Charles Owens at

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