Two of the nation's largest energy companies have announced they will jointly develop wind farms in Virginia.
A Dominion spokesman says the partnership between Dominion and BP Alternative Energy will help provide for their customers' growing electricity needs.
So now the question to ask is are these companies considering coming to the Valley for these farms? A spokesperson says there's a good chance that a wind farm could be developed in the Valley because of the strength and consistency of the wind here. However, some say wind energy isn't the answer.
Rick Webb, a Senior Scientist with the Department of Environmental Sciences at UVA, says, "I don't believe that wind turbine development on Appalachian ridges will make a serious contribution to solving our energy needs."
Webb has been involved with a national research council that addresses environmental impacts of wind projects.
"These turbines being 400 to 450 feet high are very prominent, and basically amounts to the industrialization of the mountain landscape," says Webb.
He adds each turbine takes up from three to five acres, and he argues that they have a very dramatic impact on the landscape.
Dominion and BP say they're still in the preliminary stages of trying to site some of these projects, though Sarah Howell with BP says the Shenandoah Valley will be targeted.
She says, "Typically because you do have some history of decent wind resources in the area, so that's probably one of the reasons why we wanted to go and maybe explore to see what's there."
However, Webb says it just won't work.
He says, "The fragmentation of what remains of our wild landscape is a very big issue. Other issues include the impacts on birds and bats."
Howell says, "Not everybody is going to be for that and we welcome the opportunity to talk more about it, to learn about the communities concerns, and also deliver what we're trying to do."
Both Nancy Sorrells of the Augusta County Supervisors and Bill Kyger of the Rockingham County Supervisors say their respective counties would require special use permits. Kyger says a public hearing would be held to discuss the possibilities, and both agree it's an interesting prospect, though a lot of legwork would have to be done, and the advantages would have to outweigh the disadvantages.
The wind farm debate in the Valley isn't new. A private landowner in Highland County has been granted approval to put in 19 wind turbines, though it caused a lot of controversy and debate.
In late March, a private company applied to construct more than 130 wind turbines in the George Washington National Forest.
A third area facing controversy over proposed wind turbines is in Pendleton County, West Virginia, which has been been considered as a site for months.
During a wind energy forum in Harrisonburg back in January, Webb said wind energy would not provide the capacity needed in America.