$100M wind project suspended following Tennessee moratorium

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A more than $100 million wind farm project in Tennessee has been put on hold after state lawmakers passed a yearlong moratorium on new turbines being installed in the state.

The Crossville Chronicle reports developer Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville, Virginia, cited “current market conditions” for suspending the project.

The Crab Orchard wind farm located on the Cumberland Plateau about 100 miles east of Nashville, was projected to power 20,000 homes. The site is located on a privately owned 2.8-square-mile property behind a limestone quarry, though the 23 turbines would be visible from Interstate 40.

The moratorium was sponsored by Crossville Republican Rep. Cameron Sexton, who has said residents of a nearby retirement community worried about losing value on their homes and that the windmills would be noisy or harm wildlife.

Apex has argued that the project will emit no pollution and create no hazardous waste as it provides a safe energy alternative near wildlife and natural areas. Still, development manager Harry Snyder said, it was time to suspend the project.

“There are several important inflection points at which we determine whether the fundamental attributes of the project support a continuing investment in that project,” Snyder said. “We have come to such an inflection point on the Crab Orchard Wind project.”

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters on Monday that he doesn’t support banning all future wind energy projects in the state.

“In the right places, wind power has proven to be effective,” Haslam said. “The blades of those obviously are large and impact the scenery in Tennessee, but again I think there’s places in the country, and maybe even Tennessee, where they make sense.”

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