QUINWOOD, W.Va. -- More wind turbines are on the way in Greenbrier County after getting the go-ahead from state regulators.
The West Virginia Public Service Commission has approved the Invenergy subsidiary's request to construct 33 turbines west of its existing Beech Ridge Energy wind farm near Quinwood. The existing farm has 67 turbines.
The Register-Herald reported that the windmills will be placed on a 70,000-acre tract owned by MeadWestvaco Corp.
Although at one time the center of protests in Greenbrier County, the Beech Ridge Wind Farm now appears to have few opponents and many supporters, according to PSC documents.
"Local support for this [33-turbine] project far outnumbered the contrary viewpoints," the PSC said in issuing Beech Ridge's permit Wednesday.
No one spoke in opposition to this latest project during two public hearings held earlier this year. The PSC received 38 letters supporting the expansion and seven opposing it.
"Our task, however, is not to count votes; rather, our charge is to apply the facts as developed in an extensive proceeding before the Commission against the statutory and regulatory framework that has been established for testing whether any given project should be certificated," the PSC said.
The turbines will be placed along Beech Ridge, Clear Creek Mountain, Pollock Mountain, Huggins Ridge and Blue Ridge. Power collected from an energy collection system will be delivered to the existing Beech Ridge Energy substation and ultimately to Monongahela Power Co.
The company estimates the construction of the 497-foot-tall turbines and associated facilities will cost $115 million.
Construction on the project is set to begin in July and will conclude by the end of the year. The project is expected to create 150 short-term construction jobs and a handful of facility operator jobs.
Greenbrier County is expected to receive annual tax revenue of $600,000 from the expansion for the next 20 years, with an addition $200,000 annually going to state coffers, according to PSC documents.