CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Even as Black Rock Wind Force seeks a permit to build and operate a wind farm atop a ridge in Grant and Mineral counties, they may already be looking to increase the output of the site. The state Public Service Commission heard evidence Tuesday in Charleston on the company’s request.

The initial request proposed up to 29 wind turbines with a capacity of 3.6 to 5.8 megawatts each. The targeted capacity in the initial permit was 110mw, but could be increased to as much as 170mw.

Project Manager David Friend told the PSC under cross examination that for now the company is looking at only 23 turbines.

“We plan to use a 4.8mw turbine, which would limit us to 23 sites, but if we get additional interconnection capacity, we could take that up to 29,” Friend said.

Seeking the additional interconnection capacity would be a long process that, according to testimony, might take another year and a half for full approval.

“Once you file for an interconnection agreement with PJM and First Energy, at a particular capacity, you cannot increase the capacity. It would have to be a separate filing,” said Nate Lapierre, a consultant on the project with partner ClearWay Energy.

Whether BlackRock seeks the additional capacity may hinge on the decision of the PSC on the current permit request.

“Given the substantial cost to pursue additional interconnection capacity, the additional documents need to be submitted and hefty study fees, it is likely we would wait for the outcome of this before filing for additional capacity,” Lapierre said.

The project would be build with roads, connection grids and the turbine sites in an area called Skyline, which lies about 11.5  miles southwest of Keyser. A final decision on the permit is due by March 5, 2020.