The Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition, the leading opponents of Dominion’s plans for a coal-fired power plant in Wise County, joined The Clinch Coalition today to announce their support for Dominion’s preliminary plans to build a wind farm in Wise County. Dominion has partnered with BP Energy to explore the potential of wind energy facilities in southwest Virginia.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 4, 2009
Coal Plant Opponents Embrace Wise County Wind Plans
Encourage Dominion to Pursue More Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Programs
BIG STONE GAP, June 4-The Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition, the leading opponents of Dominion’s plans for a coal-fired power plant in Wise County, joined The Clinch Coalition today to announce their support for Dominion’s preliminary plans to build a wind farm in Wise County. Dominion has partnered with BP Energy to explore the potential of wind energy facilities in southwest Virginia.
The wind facility proposed for Wise County is referred to as the Mill Creek site and would have the potential to generate as much as 150 megawatts of electricity. The groups believe that the wind farm is a good first step but needs to be combined with much more aggressive implementation of energy efficiency programs by Dominion, and that the utility should also be actively pursuing development of Virginia’s vast off-shore wind resources.
“As much as we oppose the Virginia City coal plant and the mountaintop removal coal mining on which such coal plants depend, we want to acknowledge when Dominion gets it right,” said Kathy Selvage with the Wise County based Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards (SAMS). “We can bring economic prosperity and good jobs to southwestern Virginia without blowing up our mountains for coal.”
“The Clinch Coalition is pleased to see Wise County diversify the energy sources in our area. Hopefully these will be the first of many green energy jobs to find a home in the coalfields,” said Diana Withen, President of The Clinch Coalition, which works to prevent unsustainable land practices in the National Forest.
All four of the parties opposing the Virginia City coal plant in court, Appalachian Voices, SAMS, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Sierra Club, as well Southern Environmental Law Center which represents the groups, joined in expressing support for the Wise County wind project. Although the coal power plant is currently under construction, litigation challenging the air permit for the facility is set for trial in July.
“This project has a lot going for it as clean, renewable energy,” noted Cale Jaffe, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “It looks like it will be appropriately sited and should not intrude on the National Forest, federally designated wilderness areas, or other valuable resources.”
“We understand that Dominion and BP are still evaluating the Wise County site before proceeding, and we’ll await the final plans,” said Glen Besa, Director of the Sierra Club-Virginia Chapter. “We’ll want to see the environmental analysis, but we thought it was important to speak up for promising renewable projects.”
“With the threat of global warming looming over us, we need to move aggressively toward renewable energy and away from coal. This wind farm is important for moving Virginia towards a clean energy economy,” said Chelsea Harnish with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
“A healthy future for Southwest Virginia means both ending mountaintop removal coal mining and bringing in green jobs. The wind farm is a step in the right direction,” said Tom Cormons of Appalachian Voices.