“It is really exciting to be on the cutting edge of renewable energy and to be involved with Apex [Clean Energy.]” That’s what Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce Board President Peter Pearl recently said about a proposed wind farm that is planned as Virginia’s first onshore wind farm.
The Rocky Forge Wind Farm, a project of Apex Clean Energy, will represent a significant private investment in Botetourt County, which lies in Virginia’s Roanoke Region. In addition to adding new jobs, it is expected to generate $20 to $25 million in state and county tax revenue over the life of the project as well as drive decades of increased local purchasing, employment, and investment.
“This project is just another indicator of Botetourt’s focus on economic development and follows on the heels of several substantial announcements in the last year,” said Botetourt County Chamber Executive Director Doloris Vest. “Focusing on the energy of the future is just one way support the business of the future.”
Virginia’s southern neighbor recently launched its first wind farm, which the local chamber President and board President said they were thrilled to see operational. North Carolina’s Amazon U.S. East wind farm in Elizabeth City put to work more than 500 North Carolinians and brought in $18 million in investments. The project also will inject more than $1.1 million in landowner payments and taxes a year.
“Growing renewable energy in Virginia is not just about a healthier environment or a broader energy mix; it is also about economic growth and diversification,” Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said early this year. “We are committed to giving innovative companies the tools they need when deciding where to locate and grow their operations.” The Governor toured the proposed farm site prior to construction.
Across the U.S., corporations and utilities are increasingly demanding wind energy because it has become one of the nation’s most affordable sources of electricity. In fact, in many parts of the country, it is cheaper to install a new wind energy generation facility than any other type of generation facility. It is also not subject to price fluctuations as many other forms of energy are.