Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Notes from Invenergy Meeting 05-10-10

On Thursday, May 6, 2010, David Hill of Hill Studio called me to request that I meet with he and Don Giecek of Invenergy and himself on Monday, May 10, 2010 at my home. the stated purpose of the meeting was to discuss the visual simulations of the Wind Turbine Energy Production Facilities that is being proposed for placement on Poor Mountain.
On short notice, I asked John Nicol, a close neighbor who expressed interest in being on the planning committee and Karen Scott who co-authored the letter regarding health impacts to the Board of Supervisors with her husband Jim to attend the meeting as well.

Following are short notes of our discussions during the meetings:
1. The role of Hill Studio as paid consultants to Invenergy is provide assistance for describing visual impact to the community & Blue Ridge Parkway and to serve as a community liaison for Invenergy. Their focus will be to provide additional long range, hi-resolution, fixed, photographic images of the wind turbines from 3 or 4 vantage points produced by Truescape of New Zealand.

2. Don Giecek stated that Invenergy would agree to provide us with the exact coordinates for the locations of each of the proposed 15 wind turbines for the purpose of providing us with data to conduct an independent visual, health, and environmental impact study of their proposed project. He stated that he hadn't provided them to this date because they decided to adjust a few locations after in-field observations. For this reason, Invenergy's engineering consutants were currently revising the application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for approval. He added that they intended to file that application before pursuing a Special Use Permit from Roanoke County. (I'm guessing here, but with my years of service on the BZA, the shortest legal timeframe with Roanoke County would be at least 90 days from their SUP application submission)

3. Karen Scott asked if Invenergy was conducting any specific studies regarding the human health impacts of low frequency (ELF, ULF, VLF) sound production in mountainous regions.

4. Don G. responded that Invenergy hadn't done these specific studies for this project. He added that Invenergy may retain a sound consultant to address these concerns.

5. John Nicol reported that he had visited wind farms in Scotland but didn't think they were placed as close to homes as they are being proposed here.

6. Much discussion took place regarding the size of the proposed turbines (2.5 Megawatt, 443 tall from ground to top of propeller blade) compared to past studies being done on 1.5 Mw, 300' tall turbines. Don G. said that he did not know of any installation in the United States with the new, larger 2.5 Mw turbines.

7. Eldon Karr passed along the "undocumented" rumor that Invenergy (and/or production team) would be the recipient of a Federal Grant reimbursing the company (or companies) 164% of the in place cost of the installation.  Following this, Mr Giecek was asked How much taxpayers' money was being invested in this project.

8. Don G responded that he had never heard of grants being offered in the form of a percentage of construction cost. Further, he was not aware at the current time of what incentives might be offered by the Federal Government, so, it would be difficult to respond to the question.

9. Eldon expressed to Don his concern that regardless of the position the community takes regarding their proposal, Invenergy should obligate itself to financially reinvest in the Bent Mountain community in any proposal submitted to Roanoke County for a Special Use Permit.

Don and David left saying that they would get the new turbine coordinates to us as soon as available. Don also said he would be back in touch with more information about retaining a sound consultant to address those concerns.

To those who attended:
Please review and contact me with any additions, changes or corrections.