It was a minor demonstration of the 50-kilowatt wind turbine, but over the next year it is expected to produce about 110,000 kilowatt hours - enough to power 10 homes - and save Blackwater around $10,000, Vogel said.
If this turbine, erected last month at a cost of $180,000, contributes enough to the electricity needs of the 70,000-square-foot Grizzly plant, then Blackwater could put up more turbines and add credence to the forecast that North Carolina coastal counties can effectively use wind power.
"We're in a wait-and-see mode on future installations," Vogel said.
The rest of the state is looking at the Blackwater turbine, said Brent Summerville, outreach and training programs manager for the North Carolina Small Wind Initiative at Appalachian State University.
"Everything that is installed is going to get scrutiny," Summerville said. "Projects like this
Fears of spoiled views and banged-up birds have led to years of appeals and at least one outright ban of wind turbines in some places.
A different story has played out in Currituck County over the past five months, leading to one of the first countywide wind energy ordinances in North Carolina. Approved unanimously by the Board of Commissioners Tuesday night, the ordinance makes erecting a single wind turbine up to 120 feet tall a relatively easy process.
Larger projects would require commissioner approval, and in some cases a public hearing and environmental impact study.
Currituck commissioners tonight will consider a new ordinance that could pave the way for the installation of electricity-generating wind turbines throughout the county.
Commissioners are being asked to consider two proposals that would allow residents and business owners the ability to generate their own electricity.
One, recommended by county staffers and the Currituck Planning Commission, requires the applicant to receive a special-use permit to install a wind turbine. Under the proposal, wind turbines would be subject to setback, design and height restrictions.
The other proposal, put forward by East Coast Windpower, a company that wants to install wind turbines, would allow turbines in all zoning districts without a special use permit, but restrict their height to 60 feet. ...The setback between a turbine and U.S. Highway 158, N.C. Highway 168, and N.C. Highway 12 would have to be 750 feet.
A utility-scale facility would have to have a minimum lot size of 25 acres, and the turbine could be no taller than 500 feet. The setback between occupied building and the turbine would have to be 750 feet.
Currituck's strong coastal winds are quickly turning the county into a magnet for companies hoping to sell electricity-generating wind turbines.
Several companies have expressed interest in selling wind turbines in Currituck, including one headquartered in Spain and another from Maryland. ...The only holdup to the use of wind power in Currituck right now is the lack of a county ordinance controlling turbines' placement, installation and use.
"The only thing even close our ordinance allows is windmills," Woody said, adding that the devices are generally only up to 35 feet in height and used to move water or crush rock.
A year after a bitter congressional fight over offshore drilling for oil and gas, the Bush administration wants to tap North Carolina's winds, waves and currents as a source for alternative energy.
The plans could mean that within a few years, towering wind turbines could spin off North Carolina's Outer Banks to harness the gusts that have tossed ships there for centuries.
U.S. Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne said Monday that the 1.8 billion acres of the federal Outer Continental Shelf could become "a new frontier" for the nation's energy resources.
Coastal breezes and a new state law are attracting the first plans for tall wind turbines in northeastern North Carolina, but success depends on their effect on coastal views. ...Maps show the coast is a good place to generate wind-powered energy, but opponents say tall turbines could spoil coastal scenery and weaken tourism. In June, the western North Carolina resort town of Blowing Rock banned wind turbines over concerns that the towers would clutter mountain views.
But a new North Carolina law requires utility companies to buy 10 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2018.
Kill Devil Hills resident Manny Medeiros questioned many of the claims, asserting it would take a swath from New York to the Outer Banks to provide the power that a nuclear plant could give. He said he felt the turbines were eyesores and produce only a fraction of the power of conventional energy sources. "It's like comparing lightning to a lightning bug," he said.
Aug. 1--RALEIGH -- North Carolina is on the verge of becoming the first state in the Southeast to require that a significant portion of its electricity come from sources of renewable energy.
But the same bill that will mandate more solar and wind energy also contains a provision that environmentalists say will promote the construction of coal and nuclear-power plants. And critics say that the bill could hurt electricity consumers and have other environmentally detrimental effects.
The N.C. Utilities Commission dismissed Calhoun's application Friday, saying he provided insufficient information, despite being granted a 120-day extension. The commission denied the application nine days after Calhoun submitted a letter explaining that no financial institution was willing to invest in his project until the commission approved it.
The project was also opposed by the Public Staff, the state's consumer agency in utility matters. The Public Staff concluded that wind turbines are barred in the mountains under the state's Mountain Ridge Protection Act of 1983. The law prohibits the construction of buildings or structures more than 40 feet tall on mountain ridges, but it exempts windmills.
Wind power advocates say the windmill exemption allows wind turbines, but the interpretation is unclear. The Public Staff relied on a 2002 legal opinion from the state Attorney General, who concluded that the 1983 law bars commercial-scale wind-power operations.
The N.C. utilities commission dismissed yesterday an application for a commercial wind farm in the Ashe County community of Creston.
Last July's application by Northwest Wind Developers to put up 25 to 28 wind turbines created uproar in the mountains, with some people complaining that 300-foot tall turbines would ruin tourism, views and real-estate values.
But there were many supporters, too, people who said that the nation needs renewable energy and that wind power is a good source.
It would have been the state's first commercial wind farm.
For all the hoopla, though, Northwest Wind Developers never really did say just how tall the turbines would be or exactly where they would be, or provide other details the utilities commission had requested at a February hearing in Raleigh.
The failure to provide a complete application is the reason for dismissing the case, according to an order issued yesterday by the utilities commission. Northwest could file a new application later, the order said.
A small scale green revolution is under way in Camden County as interest grows in windmill power.
That interest has energized County Planning Director Dan Porter, who is faced with drawing up policies on wind power, after the county received its first applications for windmills to generate electricity.
"We've had one homeowner in a subdivision that got interested and wanted to know if he could put up a 65-foot wind meter to determine whether it was suitable for a windmill," Porter said Monday.
"We don't currently have any regulations on windmills," he said.
State legislators added new environmental protections yesterday to a major energy bill, but they left intact a provision that would make it easier for power companies to build coal and nuclear power plants.
The bill would require power companies to begin energy-conservation programs and increase their use of renewable-energy resources. Renewable energy includes solar power, wind power and power generated from the burning of animal waste.
An Ashe County man trying to build a commercial wind farm in Creston said yesterday that he doesn't have the money to continue to do studies requested by the N.C. Utilities Commission.
Richard Calhoun of Northwest Wind Developers is asking for conditional permission to move forward with the project, but he said that his application could be dismissed before an Aug. 8 hearing.
The public staff of the utilities commission is recommending that the project be denied because Calhoun hasn't submitted the requested information and because it believes that wind turbines violate the state's Ridge Law, which prohibits tall buildings or structures on protected ridges.
Provisions make it easier to finance new power plants.
Legislation to force N.C. power companies to be greener would also make it easier for them to build power plants that would pollute, environmentalists and some lawmakers say.
The complex proposal requires Duke Energy Corp. and other power companies to produce 12.5 percent of electricity from energy efficiency programs and renewable sources, such as the wind, the sun and animal waste.
Environmentalists have fought for clean energy requirements for years, increasingly popular around the country. But some say this bill is little comfort because it has several corporate-sponsored provisions, including ones that make it easier to finance new power plants and pass those costs on to consumers.
Ashe County Commissioners voted unanimously this week to adopt a new ordinance regulating the size and placement of wind power systems in unincorporated areas of the county....A 135-foot height limit was placed on small systems while large systems can reach as high as 199 feet - a number the commission said was based on Federal Aviation Administration regulations requiring lighting to warn aircraft of air space hazards.
Legislation designed to help the state reduce energy use and promote the use of renewable power sources sailed through the state Senate this month. But the bill has stalled in the House amid growing concern that it would have the opposite effect: encouraging the construction of more power plants.
The Ashe County Board of Commissioners adopted a wind-energy ordinance yesterday that limits wind-turbine heights to 199 feet as measured to the tip of the turbine's blade.
The new rules replace those that commissioners adopted in February as they hurried to get county-wide regulations in place before the first N.C. Utilities Commission hearing on a proposed commercial wind farm of 25 to 28 turbines in Creston.
The utilities commission's hearings are scheduled in August, and the commissioners have been reviewing the ordinance.
The regulations are effective immediately because the commissioners voted unanimously on the matter. Their 5-0 vote followed a short public hearing.
Ashe County commissioners voted unanimously today to adopt a new county wind-energy ordinance.
The new version takes the place of one adopted in February. It limits the total height of wind turbines to 199 feet. That means that the turbines would not require aircraft warning lights.
The new stipulation pleases residents, including those who objected because the turbines would be illuminated at night.
The revised ordinance takes effect immediately.
The mountain counties of Northwest North Carolina would probably generate a large part of the state's renewable energy.
But residents in Ashe and Wilkes counties have already shown this year that reaching the proposed green-energy goals won't come easily.
A proposal to build a wind farm on a ridge in Ashe County set off a storm of protest this year, with opponents saying that the giant turbines would ruin sweeping mountain vistas, killing tourism and housing markets.