RALEIGH - A nonprofit environmental advocacy group, which staunchly believes global warming must be reduced through reductions in human-caused carbon dioxide emissions, controls another nonprofit organization that advises a climate action panel started by the N.C. Division of Air Quality. The DAQ-created group, in turn, makes recommendations on carbon-dioxide reductions to the Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change.
The advisory organization, the Center for Climate Strategies, is Pennsylvania-based and helped establish the study commission through a proposal to DAQ. But there is question whether the study panel, called the Climate Action Plan Advisory Group (CAPAG), is authorized under N.C. law.
While some at the meeting said they opposed wind turbines in the county because they would take away from the county's aesthetic beauty and would simply be dangerous in an area known for heavy winds, others felt the county had some areas that would be appropriate for large-scale turbines.
Catherine Elkins of Gloucester said she supported the work done on the ordinance so far and was happy it wasn't being designed around the wind farm being proposed for 33 acres near Golden Farm Road in Bettie. ...The project sparked much debate across the county and prompted county commissioners to enact a nine-month moratorium to allow staff time to develop an ordinance. The moratorium expires in November.
While Thursday evening's special meeting of the County Planning Commission was intended to provide the board with the cell tower section of the tall structures ordinance, the floor was again opened to public concerns regarding the controversial wind turbines. ...The men's main concerns were in regard to low frequency noise and vibrations produced by large turbines and said the best way to resolve those issues was to ensure there were large setback requirements in the ordinance.
"A mile and a half to 1.9 miles is what is suggested," Mr. Randy said.
And Bob White with the AES Corp., an independent power producer in Apex, said his company, which has offered the town support during the draft process, had already imposed a setback limit of 1.1 to 1.5 miles or 1,812 feet, regardless of noise, when close to residential areas.
Chicago-based Invenergy has notified the N.C. Utilities Commission that it plans to build a 49-turbine facility on 11,000 acres in Beaufort County. If approved, the Pantego Wind Energy projectwould begin generating electricity in December 2012.
The County Planning Commission is due to take on the draft tall structures ordinance again Thursday, but a Down East property owner who has a proposed wind farm waiting in the wings says the newest setback regulations for utility-scale wind turbines are too constraining.
The planning commission meets at 5 p.m. Thursday in the boardroom of the administration building in hopes of approving a recommendation for the tall structures ordinance, which addresses wind turbines and communication towers, to forward to the County Board of Commissioners before the moratorium on tall structures expires in November. ...The draft originally put setbacks at 1,600 feet or 2.5 feet times the height of the turbine, whichever is greatest, for turbines between 200 and 550 feet tall.
With the 3,300-foot-setback, seven properties in eastern Carteret County would still be able to have several utility-scale wind turbines, according to a map compiled by the County Planning Department. Those properties include Luken's Island Timber, Weyerhaeuser Co., Open Grounds Farm, N.C. Coastal Federation, United States of America and more.
Ben Massey Jr. spends his weekends tending grapes and Christmas trees amid the serenity of the Appalachian Mountains.
To protect those pristine peaks, the Raleigh physical therapist is joining the fight to prevent the harvest of one of the most abundant energy resources: wind.
Less than a half-hour from Massey’s Grape & Needle farm, a former Ashe County commissioner is proposing to put up 25 to 28 wind turbines that would light up about 15,000 homes. The turbines would rise about 250 feet above the ridge tops, each one taller than the 17-story SunTrust Bank tower in downtown Durham.
“The main problem is how unsightly it’s going to be for our beautiful mountains,” Massey said. “Who in the world would want to build a home underneath those towers that constantly go ‘whoop, whoop, whoop?’ ”
As state officials consider alternatives to nuclear power and coal-fired plants, the wind farm proposed in Ashe County underscores the challenges renewable energy must overcome.
The wind turbine section of the county's draft tall structures ordinance is going back to the planning department for changes in setbacks for utility scale turbines, waivers and more after a thorough reading Thursday night by the County Planning Commission.
The issue garnered mixed feelings from the public during the planning commission's special meeting in the boardroom of the administration building, as some supported the draft ordinance and the proposed setbacks in it while others felt their earlier comments regarding human health near wind turbines "fell on deaf ears."
The County Planning Commission will hold the second of three public comment periods to obtain citizens' opinions regarding the draft proposed ordinance to regulate tall structures. The special meeting is slated for 5 p.m. Thursday in the boardroom of the administration building.
The draft ordinance addresses wind turbines and communication towers.
The Watauga County Planning Board ventured into new territory in recommending an ordinance to regulate windmills during last Monday’s meeting.
Plans are moving forward that could see up to three wind turbines placed in the Pamlico Sound as early as next year to provide power for homes on the Outer Banks. It's all part of a first step that could see massive wind farms placed out in the ocean.
The idea of harnessing wind for generating power faces an uncertain future.
The state Senate passed a bill last year that would essentially ban the construction of commercial wind turbines in the mountains.
The legislation would limit their height to 100 feet, and commercial turbines are at least 200 feet.
Victory may be a long shot, but Earl Hendrix is geared up for the fight.
For more than eight months, Hendrix, a 76-year-old Hoke County farmer, has been protesting Progress Energy's 230-kilovolt power line expected to run through 21 miles of private land in the county.
The route, which begins in Richmond County and travels through Scotland and Hoke to end in Cumberland County, will affect 77 property owners in Hoke County and 29 in Cumberland County.
To Progress Energy, the line is a much-needed solution to the state's growing energy needs fueled by a rapidly increasing population and an upswing in electricity usage.
But to Hendrix and other landowners in the county, it's a threat to Hoke's financial outlook and future.
Onshore wind farms appear to be more hazardous to wildlife, said Dr. Peterson, mainly because there are more birds and bats on the coast than miles out at sea.
Offshore, marine life could also be affected, he said, as the construction or sound of the turbines may affect their habitat.
Progress Energy's customer surveys, presented at a conference for Wall Street analysts that the company hosted in Florida, show how far public opinion has swung in this state on combating climate change. Progress Energy, which has 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida, said public opinion virtually eliminated coal plants as an option. ..."It's important to know where customers stand, because policymakers are going to be responding to public opinion," John McArthur, the company's general counsel and senior vice president, told the analysts. ...Now Progress officials say they have a new challenge: The public may be overly optimistic about the potential for renewable energy. Though environmental advocates have said alternative energy is cheaper than building power plants, Progress executives said renewables are costly and not as dependable as power plants.
"The public has unrealistic expectations about renewables," McArthur said. "They think it's twice as important as reliability."
The power company's request is tied to the plummeting cost of natural gas, which is lowering the market price of electricity nationwide. Progress contends that it is now overpaying for the green energy it has to buy under state law, and passing on those inflated costs to its customers, who ultimately bear the financial burden in their monthly bills.
The same areas along the North Carolina coast recognized for the winds that can generate power are also prone to hurricane-force winds that generate a force of their own.
That's a concern for Carteret County resident Stephanie Miscovich, who lives near the site of a proposed wind energy project that would put three wind turbines in the Down East community of Bettie.
"We're known for our winds but we're also known for our extreme winds, and we need to take note of that," she said.
Plans for the Golden Wind Farm project now before the N.C. Utilities Commission call for three windmills below 500 feet when measured from sea level to the highest reach of the blades.
The rotating blades on the wind farm's turbines would extend 492 feet into the air, giving over-flying jets the thinnest margin of clearance. The turbines would be erected in an area where Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles swoop in at 500 feet as they approach the Dare County Bombing Range.
The Pantego project's spinning blades pose a potential threat to bald eagles roosting and foraging in Beaufort County, and they would create a collision risk for F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets making practice runs from nearby Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Invenergy is considering whether to reconfigure the location of the giant turbines or give up on the site altogether and move the project.
A local farmer and former county commissioner Richard Calhoun of Northwest Wind Developers, LLC is proposing a wind farm of 25-28 wind turbines in Creston to make electricity.
Anyone interested in letting their voice be heard on this issue can attend a hearing for the purpose of receiving public comments on Thursday, Jan. 25th at 7 p.m. in the small courtroom of the Ashe County Courthouse in Jefferson. This hearing will be held by the North Carolina Utilities Commission and it will then later reconvene for the purpose of receiving additional public witness testimony and expert witness testimony from the parties on Feb. 13th at 9:30 a.m. in Commission Hearing 2115 in Raleigh.
Ashe County commissioners are expected to consider adopting an ordinance on wind-energy systems after a public hearing that will start at 5 p.m. Monday in the Ashe County Courthouse.
The ordinance is a response to a proposed commercial wind farm of 25 to 28 wind turbines in Creston.
The ordinance is virtually identical to a wind-energy-systems ordinance adopted in Watauga County last August, but there is a significant difference in the first sentence of Ashe’s ordinance. It says that the county “has determined the North Carolina Mountain Ridge Protection Act is in effect.”