Federal agency issuing final EIS for Beech Ridge wind projects

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a notice to be published in the Sept. 13 Federal Register that it is issuing a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Beech Ridge Energy LLC and Beech Ridge Energy II LLC for wind projects in Greenbrier and Nicholas counties, W.Va.

The EIS covers an application for an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The service is also announcing the availability of the Beech Ridge Energy Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), prepared in accordance with the ESA, and an Implementing Agreement (IA), part of its incidental take permit application.

If issued, the permit would authorize incidental take of the endangered Indiana bat and Virginia big-eared bat from construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of the Beech Ridge Wind Power Project. Beech Ridge Energy is requesting a 25-year permit term.

The service received an application from Beech Ridge Energy for an ITP for the operation and maintenance of 67 existing turbines in the project area; the construction, operation, and maintenance of up to 33 additional turbines and associated infrastructure in the project area; the implementation of the HCP during the life of the permit; and the decommissioning of the entire 100-turbine project and associated infrastructure at the end of its operational life. A conservation program to minimize and mitigate for the impacts of the incidental take would be implemented by Beech Ridge Energy.

The West Virginia Public Service Commission on June 19 approved a siting certificate for the Beech Ridge Energy II LLC wind turbine facility located in Greenbrier County. In August 2012, BRE II filed the application for this siting certificate. The BRE II facility will be adjacent to a BRE wind facility now in operation. BRE II is owned by Invenergy Wind Development North America LLC.

BWE II proposed to construct an approximate 53.46 MW, but not to exceed 85.5 MW, facility consisting of up to 33 wind turbines, each with a rated capacity of 1.62 MW, but not to exceed 2.5 MW, and certain ancillary facilities on a tract located in Greenbrier County about two miles northwest of Duo, two miles east of Quinwood and seven miles north of Rupert.

BRE II will construct an energy collection system to deliver power to the BRE substation. The existing 138-kV transmission line from the BRE substation to the interconnection at the Grassy Falls substation of Monongahela Power, a FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) company, near Nettie in Nicholas County, is sufficiently sized to carry the energy produced by BRE II’s facility together with the energy produced from BRE. Thus no new transmission line is necessary.

The electricity generated by both projects, BRE and BRE II, will not exceed the 186-MW interconnect that was approved by the commission in the BRE proceeding last decade.

Invenergy Wind Development North America also owns BRE, which obtained a siting certificate for a 186-MW wind facility. BRE II wound up being the unbuilt portion of that project. BRE had to fight through litigation to get the first part of its project built, with the delay on the now-BRE II part of the project due to a lengthy process of getting a federal approval related to the endangered Indiana bat.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.