A Raleigh couple, Nelson and Dianna Paul, are seeking permission from the Public Utilities Commission to build North Carolina's first large-scale wind mills on coastal property they own. ...The utilities commission did not vote on the proposal today, and may not take action for a couple of months. Many residents of the coastal community of Bettie, where the Pauls own property, oppose the windmills, which would stand nearly 500 feet tall.
North Carolina has significant potential to develop wind and other alternative energy without drastically increasing customer bills, a study prepared for the N.C. Utilities Commission says.
The report, presented this morning to state lawmakers, concluded that renewable energy could provide as much as 1,800 megawatts of power, the equivalent of two power plants the size of Progress Energy’s Shearon Harris nuclear plant in Wake County.
The study comes at a time that Progress Energy and Duke Energy are planning to build nuclear plants and Duke Energy is also planning to build coal-fired power plants. Requiring utilities to use renewables would offset the need to build some power plants, the study concludes, reducing pollutants, greenhouse gases and radioactive nuclear waste.
Wind over waters less than 100 feet deep could supply at least 20 percent of the electricity needs of most coastal states, the Interior Department report says. Erecting wind turbines in shallow water would be cheaper and easier than in deep water.
But allowing North Carolina's first commercial-scale wind turbines won't be a quick or easy decision.
Legislation to get consideration today would restrict wind turbines on ridge tops from being more than 35 feet tall, a cap opponents said would kill a budding industry. ...Ridge-top protections in North Carolina date back to 1983 when all 25 mountain counties adopted rules banning tall structures on ridges 3,000 feet or higher.
States with renewable portfolio standards have generated growth in the renewable energy sector, but many of the Appalachian states don't have one. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New York all have some fairly progressive goals, but West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee don't have a state RPS and wind projects often ignite battles.