Highland Wind back
Developer: Highland New Wind, LLC
Highland County, VA
Highland New Wind Development (HNWD) is located on Red Oak Knob and Tamarack Ridge in Highland County, Virginia. Known as “Virginia's Switzerland,” this area is a part of the Allegheny Highlands, a subregion of the Appalachian Mountain Range near the Virginia – West Virginia border. The county is very sparsely populated (population: 2,536; density: 5 persons per square mile), and the major land use pattern is agricultural. The county seat of Monterey has a population of 158 and is the only incorporated town in the county. In the 2000 census, the median household income in Highland County was $29,732 and the per capita income was $15,976.
The Conditional Use Permit issued by the Highland County Regional Planning Board allows HNWD to generate up to 39 MW using no more than 22 turbines with a total height of no more than 400 feet. The developer has not yet selected a specific turbine model or manufacturer because they have not yet attracted investors for the project. The two sites are bald hilltop cow pastures which would require only very minimal cutting of trees to expand existing access roads for construction.
Highland New Wind Development, LLC is owned by Henry T. McBride, a retired poultry farmer who owns the 4,000 acre ranch on which he has proposed to site the turbines. HNWD has no prior experience developing, constructing, or operating wind farms. However, HNWD has stressed the role that expert advisors have played in the planning and development process. HNWD plans to sell electricity directly to a utility, a city, an energy cooperative, or another power purchaser, but has not found one yet. HNWD would interconnect with an existing Allegheny Power Company 69-kV transmission line that runs directly through the proposed site.
HNWD is branding the project as the greenest wind farm in the world. Their website describes HNWD as “commercial windpower developers with a vision.” Citing the benefits of wind power, they “see a future unclouded by global warming, air and water pollution, acid rain...and dependence on foreign energy.” Significantly, McBride predicts that HNWD would contribute between $175,000 and $225,000 annually in property taxes to the county, more than six times the next highest contributor.