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Mineral wind farm approved by PSC

By Staff | Jan 15, 2010

The Public Service Commission of West Virgina approved Pinnacle Wind Force’s proposal to construct a $131 million, 23 turbine wind farm on a 3.5 mile stretch of Green Mountain, near Keyser, W. Va. The project was approved late on Monday, January 11, the last day of the required 300 day review period.

“We are delighted with their decision to grant us a sighting certificate, and we look forward to becoming an integral part of the business community in mineral county,” said James Cookman, vice president of project development for Pinnacle Wind Force in a phone interview on Tuesday. Pinnacle is a division of US Wind Force, based out of Greensburg, Pa.

A press release issued by the PSC says the wind farm will create approximately 275 local construction jobs and approximately 15 permanent jobs thereafter. The project will also provide tax revenues for Mineral County and West Virginia. If the plant is built to the full 55.2 megawatt capacity, Pinnacle will pay approximately $430,000 per year to Mineral County. Pinnacle will also generate $603,000 per year in state taxes during constuction and $43,000 annually thereafter.

According to Cookman, once constructed, all of the electricity generated at the Pinnacle Wind Farm will be used to supply all of the energy for the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. under a power purchase agreement. The University of Maryland will earn green energy credits by purchasing the electricity generated at Pinnacle.

The project had been opposed by some groups who asserted that the windmills would harm local bird and bat populations and mar the landscapes and vistas of Mineral County. Frank O’Hara of The Allegheny Front Alliance, in a prepared statement issued to the press, said that “”the decision made to permit installation of industrial wind turbines along the migratory flyways of the Allegheny Front for the benefit of outside investors is disappointing. These massive turbines will contribute little to the energy needs of our country and contribute less to the quality of life within our community.”

Update 2:59 p.m., Jan. 15- Corrected error in location of proposed wind-farm.