Governor: Construction has begun on Black Rock Wind Farm

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
The existing Pinnacle Wind Farm (pictured) sits approximately five miles north of the site where construction has begun on the Black Rock WInd Farm. Both farms are operated by Clearway Energy.

By Liz Beavers

Tribune Managing Editor

KEYSER - Clearway Energy has begun construction on the Black Rock Wind Farm to be located approximately five miles south of the existing Pinnacle Wind Farm.

Planned construction of the wind farm, which reaches from Mineral County into Grant County, was initially announced in May 2019.

Announcement that construction has not officially begun on the wind farm was made Monday afternoon by Gov. Jim Justice and Clearway Energy CEO Craig Cornelius.

“This is a great move for the state of West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said, noting that the addition of the wind farm will help the state diversify its energy program.

“West Virginia has to be a diversified state and we’re becoming just that,” he said, adding that the state also continues to support its coal, oil and gas industries.

“We do not run off and leave them in any way,” he said.

According to Justice, Black Rock will produce 115 megawatts of power through its 23 wind turbines and will “generate significant new tax revenues for Mineral and Grant county.”

Justice went on to say Clearway would generate $5.7 million in property taxes for the two counties and approximately $9 million in Business and Occupation (B&O) taxes for the state.

As for the energy to be produced, Cornelius said the Black Rock Wind Farm would “increase the state’s wind capacity by 15%.”

“This wind farm will amp up our wind production in a good way,” Justice said.

It is estimated that the construction cycle of the wind farm will include 200 jobs “that will generate millions of dollars in local spending,” Justice continued.

Cornelius also announced that, once construction is complete on Black Rock, Clearway will be providing permanent jobs at the farm.

“We plan to have a job fair in the spring to fill those long-term jobs,” he said, noting that Black Rock will also offer a pilot training program to recruit new wind technicians.

Once construction is complete at Black Rock, Clearway also plans to upgrade the existing Pinnacle Wind Farm which will extend its life, he said.

West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Ed Gaunch, Del. Ruth Rowan, and Mineral County Chamber of Commerce president Randy Crane also spoke during the virtual announcement, with both Rowan and Crane thanking Clearway for their monetary support of the area through donations and grants.

“I cannot adequately state what Clearway has meant to Mineral County,” Crane said. “What Clearway gives back is so helpful  to our community.

“Clearway is a great neighbor and a great contributor to our county,” he said.