Apex installs two meteorological towers at proposed Virginia wind project

Apex Clean Energy has installed two meteorological towers, or “MET towers,” in Botetourt County, Va., to collect weather data the proposed 80-MW Rocky Forge wind project, a company spokesperson confirmed.

“The MET towers will measure wind speed and direction at various heights along the tower to help us get a better idea of the project area’s wind resource,” spokesperson Kevin Chandler said in a Sept. 1 email response to questions from GenerationHub.

Each tower is 197 feet tall, and the last was installed on Aug. 25. “They will likely be collecting data until construction commences to learn more about the wind resource across seasons and weather patterns,” the spokesperson said.

Apex Clean Energy is still in the research and study phase of its development.

“Per the requirements of the Botetourt County Wind Energy Ordinance, any wind energy project must obtain a special use permit from the county on top of other local, state and federal permits,” Chandler said. “Because we are still in the study phase, we have yet to apply for specific project approvals,” he added.

Several residents have filed a lawsuit challenging the Botetourt County Wind Energy ordinance, which was adopted in June following a public hearing. An attorney representing the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors has said that the lawsuit should be dismissed given that no wind project application has even been filed to date, according to the Roanoke Times newspaper.

If built, Rocky Forge could generate enough energy to power up to 20,000 homes annually, according to the Apex website. Apex says that the Rocky Forge site is located on private land near existing high-voltage electric transmission lines.

Apex Clean Energy is also pursuing the 180-MW Pinewood Wind project in nearby Pulaski County, Va. Pinewood is also targeted for commercial operation in the 2017-to-2018 time period. Both Botetourt and Pulaski County are located in mountainous areas near Roanoke, Va.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.