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“Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you:

But when the leaves hang trembling

The wind is passing thro’

Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I:

But when the trees bow down their heads    

The wind is passing by.

-- Christina Rossetti


Discussion of harnessing the power of the wind is in the air in Tazewell County.  The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on a ridgeline protection ordinance designed to regulate use of ridgetops for wind turbines, Tuesday, February 3.  Citizens are encouraged to educate themselves and then express their views about the drafted ordinance.  To enable citizens to develop informed opinions, Tazewell County Public Library recommends several resources about wind energy.



For a quick overview of the subject, view the article “Wind Power” at


The US Department of Energy provides a wealth of information in a user friendly website at  Look under Wind & Hydropower Technologies.  This site offers many maps, charts and tables, as well as numerous useful links.


Paul Gipe is a recognized expert on wind energy.  His two books, Wind Power, and Wind Energy Basics, provide clear, detailed information about the feasibility of harnessing the power of the wind.


The chapter “Wind Power” in Healing Appalachia: Sustainable Living Through Appropriate Technology by Al Fritsch and Paul Gallimore discusses the specific application of wind projects in the mountain region. 


Michael Brune’s book Coming Clean: Breaking America’s Addiction to Oil and Coal should be of interest to this coal-bearing region.  It includes a chapter, “Greening the Grid: How Sun and Wind Can Generate Power and Prosperity”.



Wind power is the fastest growing form of energy.  Its advantages as identified in these publications include low environmental impact through use of renewable energy (no fossil fuels leading to air pollution or chemical emissions that result in acid rain or greenhouse gases), domestic and abundant sources, and low cost. In a document published June 30, 2008, the Department of Energy forecasts “economic benefits from 1000 MW of development in Virginia to be $1.2 billion, annual CO2 reductions are estimated at 3.0 million tons, and annual water savings are 1,600 million gallons”.



Concerns about development of wind power include initial development cost, site access, intermittent wind, environmental impact (including bird and bat deaths, noise, and aesthetics), and objections from the coal industry.  Several articles indicate that most of these concerns can be alleviated with careful planning and proper siting of towers.


Additional Information

The library has prepared a packet of journal articles addressing energy policy with regard to wind and other renewable forms of energy, the state of the wind industry for capacity and potential, environmental impact, economic impact, technology, and examples of specific applications of wind energy.  Copies of the information packet are available at all three TCPL locations, in Bluefield, Richlands, and Tazewell.


Additional information of interest may be T. Boone Pickens’ memoir, The First Billion is the Hardest, as well as his website,, which was heavily advertised in recent months.


For views of the long term, see The Way We Will Be 50 Years from Now (named one of the Best Books of 2008 by Booklist) and Ira Flatow’s Present at the Future.


Thomas Jefferson said that “Information is the currency of democracy.”  The library is a source of reliable information for insuring careful development of views on this and other issues.  For more information, call us at 988.2541.

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