Second wind-power project taking shape in Preston, W.Va.

By Rick Steelhammer , The Charleston Gazette, W.Va.

Nov. 02, 2000 (Knight Ridder/Tribune)—A second West Virginia wind-power project, this one in Preston County, is the topic of a public hearing set for Nov. 16 in Aurora.

MegaEnergy Inc. of Englewood, Colo., plans to build a pair of 5.3-megawatt natural gas-fired turbine generators, followed by 10 wind turbines producing a total of 10 megawatts of power. The company hopes to begin construction by July of next year.

The green energy complex would be located along Secondary Route 118 near the community of Horse Shoe Run. Electricity from the site would be fed into the Allegheny Power grid.

MegaEnergy’s 10 proposed wind turbines would be placed on a 1,000-foot-long, 600-foot-wide leased parcel of land. Fuel for the two natural gas turbines would come from an existing metering station off a Columbia Gas Transmission line.

Several residents of the area sought a public hearing in Preston County to learn more about the particulars of the project. In August, Mountaineer Gas filed with the PSC to intervene in the case.

The public hearing for the MegaEnergy proposal will take place at 6 p.m. Nov. 16 in Aurora Elementary School. An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 1 in Charleston.

In other wind-power developments, an evidentiary hearing has been set for Nov. 20 for an 80-windmill project planned for Backbone Mountain near Thomas in Tucker County.

Backbone Mountain Windpower LLC of Richmond, Va., plans to erect the 300-foot-tall windmills along a seven-mile stretch of ridgetop, facing a prevailing westerly wind. If built out to initial plans, that $70 million to $90 million development would become the largest wind-power project in the East, producing enough power to serve about 25,000 households.

Public hearings on the Tucker County proposal were held two weeks ago in Parsons and Thomas. No one spoke in opposition to the project, which would create seven full-time jobs.

Backbone Mountain Windpower’s hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in PSC headquarters in Charleston.

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© 2000, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.