APPALACHIA — There is no timetable to review potential wind energy sites in Wise and Tazewell counties, a spokesman for Eastern Virginia utility Dominion said Monday.
Dominion and its wind projects partner, BP Wind Energy North America Inc., are also mum on the number of sites under consideration or location of those potential wind turbine farms.
On Friday, state Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, said one possible site in Wise County is a former surface mining operation north of Appalachia on land owned by Penn-Virginia Corp. Dominion’s Ryan Frazier said the companies would not confirm Kilgore’s statement or address the topic for any potential site.
“It’s too early in the development process,” Frazier said, and there is no “definite timetable” to review project potential in Southwest Virginia.
Earlier in January, Dominion and BP Wind Energy purchased about 2,500 acres of Tazewell County properties. Last April, Dominion and the British Petroleum subsidiary entered an agreement to jointly develop, own and operate wind energy projects in Virginia. The recent announcement to explore possible sites in Tazewell and Wise counties marks the first effort by the partners in Virginia. Both are partners in 650 megawatts of the 750-megawatt Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County, Ind..
Last month Dominion Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas F. Farell II said the assessment of potential sites in Tazewell and Wise counties “is a small but important step for Virginia’s nascent wind industry, an industry whose roots must grow stronger if the state is to achieve its renewable energy goals. Dominion is committed to increasing renewable generating capacity, and these projects would move us closer to fulfilling that commitment.”
Last year, Dominion began construction of a $1.8 billion, 585-megawatt coal-fired power plant in St. Paul in Wise County. The utility plans to have the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center operational by 2012.
Kilgore said developing wind energy projects in Southwest Virginia is a welcome development in the coal producing region because it will diversify the region’s energy producing economy that also fits in well with high-tech fields.
David Stoner, senior vice president of BP Wind Energy, said several areas of Virginia have promising areas with “reasonable” wind resources.
“Wind power is a key component of delivering a diverse and adequate energy supply for future generations of Americans,” Stoner said. “If wind power is developed in the right way, in the right places, it offers a very attractive option as part of the energy mix.”