SCC examiner decides in favor of Highland New Wind
Wind turbines atop Tamarack Ridge are a step closer to reality.
On Monday evening, Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) hearing examiner Alexander Skirpan issued a report recommending that a complaint against Highland New Wind Development, LLC (HNWD) be dismissed.
The issue will be forwarded to three SCC commissioners for a final decision.
Virginia's Department of Historic Resources (DHR) filed the complaint in August, alleging that Highland New Wind Development, LLC (HNWD) failed to comply with conditions requiring protection of historic resources. The DHR argued that HNWD failed to consider the project's visual impact on the Civil War battlefield at Camp Allegheny in Pocahontas County and had not coordinated with the DHR to mitigate those impacts.
In Monday's report, Skirpan wrote: "The final order and Highland New Wind's certificate of public convenience and necessity contain no condition by which Highland Wind is required to coordinate with DHR for guidance regarding the project's visual impact on Camp Allegheny."
HNWD's development manager Henry "Mac" McBride released the following statement after Skirpan's report.
"Today's report puts another one of the final pieces in place for our long-standing commitment to build a renewable wind project on our family land in Highland County.ﾠ While the eight-year process has been a long road, we have remained steadfast in our belief that this project will provide meaningful positive impacts for our community's rural economy and our environment.ﾠ I am proud that McBride family land will provide revenue for Highland County and take the trail-blazing, leadership role in promoting renewable energy in Virginia."
Opponents of the wind project believe the project will ruin one of the most unspoiled Civil War sites in the country.ﾠ
In December 1861, Confederate forces occupied the summit of Allegheny Mountain to defend the Staunton-Parkersburg Pike. A Union force attacked the Confederate position at sunrise on December 13 but were repulsed after a day-long battle. For a relatively small engagement, the battle was bloody, resulting in 137 United States casualties and 146 Confederate casualties. Confederate forces occupied Camp Allegheny until 1863, when it was abandoned.
At 4,400 feet in elevation, Camp Allegheny is the highest fortification in the eastern theater of the Civil War.
HNWD plans to build as many as 20 wind turbines, towering 400 feet into the sky, less than two miles from the battlefield. The proposed wind facility could produce as much as 37.5 megawatts of electricity.