REPOWERING: Pinnacle Wind Farm undergoing upgrade

Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
The Pinnacle Wind Farm, located along Green Mountain above Keyser, is currently undergoing a "repowering" project.

PINNACLE - Those traveling through Keyser recently, or anyone who just happened to gaze up toward Green Mountain may have noticed some additional structures popping up beside the 23 wind turbines that have stood atop the New Creek Valley horizon since 2012.

Clearway Energy, which owns and operates the Pinnacle Wind Farm, has begun “repowering” the wind mills in order to extend the operational life of the wind farm.

A 55-watt wind farm, Pinnacle represents the first repowering project Clearway has launched in West Virginia, and only the fourth such project overall for the company.

“We’re thrilled to deepen our roots in West Virginia by extending the life of Pinnacle,” said Valerie Wooley, vice president of origination at Clearway.

“This significant investment in the Mountain State’s energy economy will improve Pinnacle’s efficiency, bolster the reliability of the electric grid, create new jobs, and generate additional tax revenues.

“We are grateful to Gov. Jim Justice’s administration, to state lawmakers, and to the Mineral County Commission for their support, and extend our thanks to the University System of Maryland and Maryland Department of General Services, whose partnership will help make possible the transition to an affordable and reliable clean energy future.”

The Pinnacle Wind Farm produces power for the University System of Maryland and Maryland DGS.

According to Ellington E. Churchill Jr., secretary of the Maryland DGS, they along with the University System purchase “13% of the electricity used in state operations from renewable energy sources, including the Pinnacle Wind facility.

“Repowering this facility with the newest wind turbine technology ensures that the state will continue to lead by example in its support of renewable energy.”

In order to facilitate the repowering project, Clearyway obtained $128 million in debt financing.

In a release, Clearway stated the project would create approximately 50 construction jobs and generate millions of dollars for the local area.

“Clearway is already the largest taxpayer in Mineral County, currently generating approximately $500,000 in local property taxes,” according to the release. “Repowering Pinnacle will increase Clearway’s tax payments to Mineral County by up to $200,000 in the first year of operations. Pinnacle will also pay $3.7 million in West Virginia business & occupancy taxes over the project’s operating life.

“The repowering will also extend the life of Pinnacle’s Community Benefit Fund, which has awarded more than $232,000 in grants to local community organizations since the wind farm began operations in 2012. The site will continue to award $20,000 in annual grants to local organizations.”

Clearway Energy also owns the Black Rock Wind Farm, currently under construction at a location approximately five miles north of Pinnacle.

A portion of that farm is located in Mineral County and a portion in Grant County. It will also consist of 23 turbines and is projected to produce 115 megawatts of power.