The groups have been organizing support for the Coal River Mountain Wind Project since April. The groups include Coal River Mountain Watch, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Appalachian Voices and the Sierra Club,
“The Coal River Wind Project is a clear choice between a clean renewable energy future and a dirty destructive threat to the community,” said Vernon Haltom, codirector of Coal River Mountain Watch. “It can provide long term sustainable jobs instead of temporary destructive jobs.”
WindLogic, a Minnesota consulting company, completed a basic feasibility study in 2006 that showed the mountain had great wind potential, but that the installation of windmills was not viable after the land was leveled by mountaintop removal mining. Two mountains already leveled – Kayford and Cherry Pond – have no greater than class 2 commercial-scale wind potential, but Coal River Mountain still has class 4 and higher commercial wind sites.
“Industry and politicians say that post mine lands are good for wind development,” said CRMW energy expert Rory Mcllmoil. “But the loss of hundreds of feet altitude significantly reduces wind potential.” Studies have shown, he said, that high altitude ridges combined with steep thin valleys are what makes West Virginia wind sites so desirable. “If you take down the ridges (through MTR mining) you totally lose the whole dynamic,” McMoil said.
A web site – www.coalriverwind.org -- will be up in June, organizers said, but the actual windmills are a few years away.