UPDATE: Public hearing tonight on proposed wind farm expansion - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Public hearing tonight on proposed wind farm expansion

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RUPERT, W. Va (WVVA)-- The Beech Ridge wind farm near Rupert is looking to expand.

The company, owned and operated by Invenergy, a Chicago-based company, has applied to the West Virginia Public Service Commission for approval in the beginning of its expansion process.

The company hopes to add 33 new wind turbines to its current 67. If approved, construction on the new project could begin as early as Summer 2013.

Invenergy released this statement to WVVA:

"As the owner and operator of the Beech Ridge Wind project, we're committed to the area's economic success, and to developing new sources of energy in West Virginia.

The existing Beech Ridge Wind farm consists of 67 wind turbines located in Greenbrier County. As proposed, the project expansion would consist of an additional 33 turbines, providing substantial, long-term economic benefits to the local community. The project is expected to generate more than 150 jobs during construction, with at least three permanent operations & maintenance staff positions once the facility is operational.

Together, both of Invenergy's Beech Ridge wind projects would provide more than $1.5 million annually in local and state tax revenue, lease payments to landowners, direct spending, and staff salaries.

Development of the expansion project is subject to changing power market conditions, as well as to the successful completion and approval of various local, state, and federal permits.

We look forward to continuing to work with the community and public officials with regard to Beech Ridge Wind, and to announcing further developments in the near future."

-- Invenergy

 A public hearing is being held tonight at the Rainelle Town Hall at 7 p.m.

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