West Virginia Approves Wind Farm of 55 MW Near Keyser

U.S. WindForce of Pennsylvania wants to build 23 wind turbines on a 3-1/2 mile stretch of mountaintop near Keyser. The state Public Service Commission approved the wind energy project Monday, saying it could create up to 200 construction jobs and generate more than $1 million a year in tax revenue.

The commission says the company must meet several conditions, including establishing a decommissioning fund. It did not give details on the other conditions.

The company say it will pay about $430,000 a year in taxes to Mineral County over the next 25 years. It will also pay about $603,000 per year in state taxes during construction, and about $43,000 a year after that.

The wind power project has a capacity of 55 megawatts, the amount of electricity about 14,000 homes use in a year. The company says construction will begin this summer or in the spring of 2011. It says the project will cost an estimated $130 million to construct and will create about 150 to 200 temporary construction jobs, as well as six permanent jobs.

Six of the wind turbines would be built on land owned by NewPage Corporation, and company officials say they plan to buy renewable energy credits from the plant to power some buildings at their coated paper plant in nearby Luke, Md. The company is also working on a purchase agreement with the University of Maryland, which is looking to purchase renewable energy credits.

West Virginia is already home to the 66-megawatt Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in Tucker and Preston counties and the 264-megawatt NedPower Mount Storm in Grant County. A federal judge halted the 186-megawatt Beech Ridge Energy project in Greenbrier County last month.