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Virginia's State Corporation Commission (SCC) has granted conditional approval to a proposed wind-powered electric generation facility in Highland County. All conditions to minimize adverse environmental impact, including a post-construction bat and bird mitigation plan, must be met.

Highland New Wind Development seeks to build and operate up to 20 wind turbines, at a capacity of up to 2 MW each, along a mountain ridge near the Virginia-West Virginia border.

Under current Virginia law, the SCC may approve electric generation projects that do not threaten the reliability of the electric system, advance electric competition and have positive impacts on economic development. The SCC must also consider environmental impact.

The post-construction monitoring program adopted by the commission "will provide significant information on the impacts to protected species." The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will implement the program. The Commission will address any disputes that may arise.

Highland Wind will pay for monitoring and mitigation. The commission established annual minimum and maximum payments. It determined that such a condition on the project is necessary to minimize adverse environmental impact.

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