GREENBRIER CO., W Va.—Sixty-seven turbines stretch along the ridge tops in rural Greenbrier County. This week, a tour organized by officials at Dabney Lancaster Community College gave more than a dozen people a closer look at the Beech Ridge Wind Farm.
Dan Crawford lives in Roanoke: "I came with high expectations and they've been exceeded," he said.
Jeff McGee is a resident of Chesapeake. "It's well thought out. It's organized. There's a lot of high tech stuff going on in the background," he said.
Chicago-based Invenergy operates the Beech Ridge project. With more than 20 wind generating facilities, the company says it's the largest independent wind developer in the United States.
1.5 megawatt turbines at the Beech Ridge site measure 388 feet from the ground to the tip of the blade at its highest point. That's actually about 50 feet less than the 2.5 megawatt turbines planned for Poor Mountain. Invenergy says the noise level will be about the same.
Kristy Jones travelled from Manassas to see the wind farm. "I actually think they're beautfiul. I mean, I'm not in the situation where somebody's building one right beside me, but I honestly can't believe I would have any problem with it," she said in an interview.
Crawford agreed. "I think most people would have the same experience as myself and find them very attractive, and readily adapt to their presence," he said.
Invenergy faced strong opposition when the West Virginia wind farm was proposed.
And the project was scaled back, after a federal court found that the windmills threatened an endangered bat.
For one group of visitors, however, the benefits outweigh any objections.