Wind power makes an impact in Mountaineer State

It's taken a while to get started, but wind power is moving steadily forward in West Virginia, according to a recent report from Charleston, WV-based WOWK-TV.

Highlights from the article:

– There are currently 431 megawatts (MW) of wind generation installed in the Mountaineer State, enough to power the equivalent of 100,000 homes, and additional wind projects are moving through the permitting process.

– Wind generation in March 2011 was 215 million kilowatt-hours (kWh), an increase of 25 percent from the same month a year earlier, which likely reflects the installation of 101 MW of new capacity in 2010.

– Jeff Herholdt, Director of the West Virginia Division of Energy, is quoted as saying, ““When we first developed, we saw lots of negative articles about wind and lots of negative opinions, but now it seems like people are generally more accepting of wind.”

– That sentiment is echoed by Dave Friend, CEO of U.S. Wind Force, a wind farm developer: “Friend says that overall, there has been improvement over time and that the state has been more supportive of wind energy. 'Most of the people very much want wind energy development,' he said. 'It’s good economically for counties to get to develop. The wind farm in Mineral County, for example, will become one of the biggest taxpayer[s] in the county.'”

– West Virginia wind farms currently pay an estimated $650,000 annually in property taxes, and another $1.3 million in rental payments to local farmers and other landowners.

– The state still has additional wind resources available to tap, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory–enough to supply some 17 percent of its current electricity demand.

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