Wind Mills Bring Balance to Energy Projects in West Virginia

by Duane Nichols on July 14, 2017

Appalachian Power looks to acquire planned wind power projects, one in WV

From an Article by Max Garland, Charleston Gazette-Mail, July 5, 2017

Appalachian Power is continuing its shift toward renewable energy, as the electric utility announced Wednesday it is seeking approval to acquire two wind power facilities under development.

One of these projects, the Beech Ridge II Wind Facility, will be located in Greenbrier County and generate about 50 megawatts of power. The other, Hardin Wind Facility, will be located in Hardin County, Ohio, and generate 175 megawatts of power.

Both wind power facilities are being developed by Invenergy, according to a statement from Appalachian Power. The facilities are expected to be in commercial operation in 2018, according to Invenergy’s website.

Appalachian said it is pursuing the acquisitions because of “the declining cost of wind resources and the extension of the Federal Production Tax Credit.” It is filing for regulatory approval with the West Virginia Public Service Commission and the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

About 61 percent of Appalachian’s electricity comes from coal, while wind and solar make up a total of 5 percent, according to the utility’s most recent estimates. By 2031, Appalachian projects that coal will make up 51 percent of its electricity generation, while wind and solar will total 25 percent.

“We are continuing our transition to an energy company of the future and further diversifying our power generation portfolio. These acquisitions move us in that direction,” Appalachian President Chris Beam said in a news release. “Direct ownership and operation of these facilities will give our employees new experiences in the planning, production and delivery of power from diverse generating assets as Appalachian continues to add renewable resources in the years ahead.”

Appalachian, an American Electric Power subsidiary, serves about 1 million customers in West Virginia, Tennessee and Virginia.

Beam told the Gazette-Mail earlier this year that the company is looking toward renewables as big businesses like Amazon and Google look for facilities that can run entirely on renewable energy. He also said “there definitely is some ability to expand wind in West Virginia.”

Appalachian has 375 megawatts of wind generation. An additional 120 megawatts will come online next year from NextEra’s Bluff Point Wind Energy Center, an acquisition approved by the PSC in March. The PSC said “it is just, reasonable, and in the public interest” for Appalachian to enter into the purchase agreement, despite concerns that customers would be responsible for the costs if the wind energy market were to falter.

Greenbrier County already is home to the Beech Ridge Wind Farm in Rupert, which generates 100 megawatts of power and is owned by an Invenergy subsidiary. It began commercial operation in 2010, according to Invenergy’s website.

Invenergy, headquartered in Chicago, develops and operates wind, solar and natural gas projects in the United States and other countries. The company and its affiliates have developed projects that total more than 15,900 megawatts of power, it said in a recent news release. The majority of that power comes from wind farms, with about 10,000 megawatts generated.

Invenergy representatives did not respond to interview requests for this report.

According to a 2014 presentation on the West Virginia Department of Commerce website, the Beech Ridge Wind Farm has 67 turbines and Beech Ridge II would develop up to 33 turbines, all west of the existing turbines.

Greenbrier County Commissioner Lowell Rose said the Beech Ridge Wind Farm, located near Cold Knob Mountain in the western part of the county, has been a net positive to the community. Its location quelled initial concerns that the wind turbines would harm the area’s natural beauty and, consequently, the tourism industry, he added.

“[The wind farm] is back behind the mountains in a private land area,” Rose said. “It’s not really noticeable from major cities like Lewisburg. It actually might have helped tourism a bit, with people visiting it.”

Appalachian receives energy from the Beech Ridge Wind Farm through a purchase agreement. Invenergy also has a 31.5 megawatt energy storage project near the site.

Following a federal court settlement between Invenergy and environmental groups, the Beech Ridge turbines can only operate during times when the endangered Indiana bat and the Virginia big-eared bat are not flying, according to a previous Gazette-Mail report. Additionally, its turbines cannot be operated from April 1 to Nov. 15, the report said.

Max Garland

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Sierra Club August 8, 2017 at 11:52 am

Join in a Community of Thousands in Support of Clean Energy

Trump may rip up the Paris Agreement and lie about climate change, but he can’t control the acceleration of clean energy. And, although he may try to double down on highly polluting coal, you can combat this by signing up to support wind energy.

Our partner, Arcadia Power, has a program to support clean energy that’s available to anyone who pays an electric bill. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, you can join the clean energy movement.

All you have to do is go to their website and enroll your local utility account. It takes two minutes from start to finish, and they will match your electricity usage with Green-e certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) from wind farms.

There is nothing to install, there are no contracts, and your local utility still delivers reliable electricity. Starting with your next power bill, every time you turn on the lights, your electricity usage will be matched by RECs supporting clean, renewable energy sources.

There is a movement happening. From mayors and governors rebelling against the Trump administration’s anti-environment efforts to you at home. Together, we’ll make the move from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Plus, as a benefit for being a Sierra Club supporter, if you sign up this month Arcadia will send you 4 free energy-saving LED light bulbs.

Thank you,
The Sierra Club

Reply August 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Orlando Becomes 40th City to Commit to 100% Renewable Energy

The Orlando City Commission unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday establishing a goal to move Orlando to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2050. Orlando is now the largest city in Florida to make such a commitment and joins a growing movement of more than three dozen cities nationwide that have committed to a 100 percent clean energy future.

Council chambers were filled with elated members of the First 50 Coalition, a broad-based alliance led by the League of Women Voters of Orange County that is pushing for sustainability in Central Florida.

“Today, Orlando takes its place on the regional, state and national stage as a forward-thinking city committed to a healthier, sustainable future,” said League of Women Voters of Orange County co-president Carol Davis. “This is a first, important step, and we plan to continue to support and encourage the City to follow with concrete measures that solidify this commitment.”

Orlando represents the 40th city in the U.S. to commit to move to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. Mayor Buddy Dyer has already championed multiple green energy initiatives, including signing the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda in the past few months. In June, Mayor Dyer signed onto the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy campaign and endorsed a vision of powering all of Orlando with 100 percent clean energy. Other Florida cities that have committed to transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy include St. Petersburg and Sarasota.

The local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) branch, a key member of the First 50 Coalition, praised the City Commission’s vote.

“We stand in support with the Orlando City Commission, in realizing the importance of renewable energy to it residents, by taking the necessary actions to begin the transformation,” said Beverlye Colson Neal, president of the NAACP’s local branch. “We look forward to working with the City to educate the residents of the importance and advantages of renewable energy as we move into the future.”

Sara Isaac, League of Women Voters of Orange County’s director of partnerships, agreed. “We applaud the City of Orlando for looking ahead to the future and seeing that a better tomorrow is possible if we take bold action today,” Isaac said. “Orlando is a young city that is just now beginning to fully realize its possibilities. This action showcases Orlando as a potential powerhouse player on the national stage.”

In a letter sent to commissioners urging their support, First 50 acknowledged that Orlando has already taken significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, praising in particular Green Works Orlando and Smart ORL, which boosted Orlando down a path of clean-energy and sustainability.

Orlando’s vote was applauded by Phil Compton, senior organizing representative with the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign in Florida, and a member of the First 50 Coalition.

“All across our state and our nation, cities are committing to a future powered by 100 percent clean and renewable energy for all,” Compton said. “Today, Orlando joins this growing movement of cities that are ready for 100 percent clean, renewable energy.



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