Wind Energy More Economically Sound Than Mountaintop Removal Mining

Coal River Mountain Watch has released the results of a study that it commissioned in June from Downstream Strategies, LLC of Morgantown. The study shows that wind development is a better economic land use option than mountaintop removal coal mining, not only for Coal River Mountain, but potentially for all areas in southern West Virginia that exhibit good wind potential, the group said.

The study shows that the proposed Coal River wind farm, consisting of 164 wind turbines and generating 328 megawatts (MW) of electricity, would provide more than US $1.74 million in annual property taxes to Raleigh County. By comparison, the coal severance taxes related to the mountaintop removal mining would provide the county with only US $36,000 per year.

“Mountaintop removal mines on Coal River Mountain would be more profitable for private landholding and coal mining companies, but it is not defensible from the perspective of Raleigh County citizens. Our analysis confirms that a wind farm would produce greater economic benefits to the citizens of Raleigh County when health and environmental externalities are included in the analysis,” said Evan Hansen, president of Downstream Strategies.

The report also analyzed the benefits of opening a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Raleigh County. It concluded that substantial economic benefits would also result from the development of a strong wind industry in southern West Virginia, Coal River Mountain Watch said.

To download the report, click here.

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