Several of America's finest national wildlife refuges - Pocosin Lakes, Alligator River and Lake Mattamuskeet - in concert with local landowners, provide the winter base from which these incredible animals can fly ...Remarkably, if the project moves ahead, the migratory swans, geese, ducks, and raptors may return to their winter Carolina home in a year or two to find 49 spinning turbines, each the height of the Washington Monument.
Maine's experience with is instructive. While everyone was worried about the "visual" pollution of 450-foot tall white towers sticking up four to five times higher than the surrounding forest, the most invasive aspect of wind turbines has actually been the incessant low frequency "thuds" that come from the blades as they rotate.
This has caused issues for the people who live within the sound's radius which, even in forested areas, is significantly further away than the quarter mile setback.
Sources tell us that regardless of what the N. C. Utilities Commission rules on the state permit, the objection from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife service will no doubt have a significant impact on the Federal Power Agency and its determination of whether to allow the wind farm near the Refuge.
Most of the support for the Pantego project has come from property owners who want to make money.
But what is Pantego Wind Energy LLC? It is a subsidiary of Invenergy, a Chicago-based energy corporation that is one of the five largest (and the number one independent) owners of wind generation plants in the U.S. This corporation with more than $130 million in assets wants you (and me) to subsidize their Pantego Wind Facility.
Today, a large wind energy farm is proposed for much of the same land as would have been impacted by the OLF runway. Fifty 500-foot tall wind turbines are planned over 10,000 acres in the Pantego Wind Energy project, on agricultural fields actively used for feeding by overwintering waterfowl. Despite the fact that each wind turbine will have the height of the Washington Monument, little consideration has been given to the potential effects of these wind turbines on these large flocks.
"As a child of coal country, I share his anger over mountaintop-removal mining. But as a renewable-energy advocate with significant wind experience, I find his passion for utility-scale wind power in WNC sorely misplaced - and painfully ironic."
Lawmakers need to clarify the law, while not completely shutting the door on all wind power in the mountains. Wind turbines, particularly for private homes or small operations, could help reduce the need for coal-fired electric plants down the road. Wind won't replace oil or natural gas anytime soon, but like solar power and other alternative energy sources, we need to explore all avenues.
At a November forum on wind power at UNCA, a young staffer from a regional activist group puffed that he had dedicated his life to fighting mountaintop-removal coal mining, blustering that he wasn't about to let "these NIMBYs" who oppose industrializing Western North Carolina's ridge tops stand in his way. I share his anger over mountaintop-removal mining, but as a renewable-energy advocate I find his passion for utility-scale wind power in WNC sorely misplaced - and painfully ironic.
Virginia officials have long discussed placing wind turbines off the coast, but the first towers in the region are likely to appear farther south - in North Carolina's Pamlico Sound.
Duke Energy and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently signed a contract to install one to three turbines in the sound west of Buxton and Avon as early as next year. The turbines would be seven to 10 miles from shore.
The pilot project ...could position North Carolina as a leader in developing wind energy.
Wind projects require government subsidies and inflated energy prices to be viable. When the full cost of subsidies, operations and government-mandated prices are considered, the consumer cost for green power substantially exceeds conventional energy.
Despite all the hype, green power is not your friend.
In 1983, Sugar Top Condos were built on the top of Sugar Mountain in Avery County. Sugar Top Condos rise 131 feet above the ridgeline and can be seen for several miles. These towering condos were so devastating to the scenic splendor of the mountains that the General Assembly wisely enacted strict ridge top laws to stop these monstrosities from appearing throughout our mountains. While the statewide law was too late for Sugar Mountain, the law stopped similar projects of shocking heights and destruction of the mountains. Sugar Top Condos is a permanent reminder that once a structure is built on our mountain tops, we cannot unbuild it.
One need not state a falsehood to tell a lie. Misleading presentation of facts and rhetorical sleight of hand have become modern art forms. One of the most insulting practices is the framing of arguments in terms of false choices.
I’m particularly disappointed to see two local environmental organizations with whom I share much common ground distilling the debate over industrial scale wind farms down to: We can let the coal industry flatten the mountains and pollute the air and water, or we can let the wind industry turn the mountains into Gary, Ind.,with slopes. Which shall we do?
I’ll take C), neither of the above.
If the nature of this debate sends one clear message, it's that wind power legislation needs to be thoroughly studied, not rushed through.
The locus of the debate isn't over wind power itself, but of size, scale and most of all - location. Sen. Steve Goss of Watauga County wants farms permitted on ridge top locations in his area; Sens. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, John Snow, D-Murphy, and Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, point to the fact that such large structures would run afoul of the mountain ridge law.
The debate has its roots in a condominium project that popped up on a mountain ridge in the 1980s. There were no mountain area zoning laws to prevent it, and when the Sugar Top project emerged to stick out like a sore thumb, the General Assembly quickly acted. It adopted the Ridge Law, intended to stop the erection of excessively tall structures atop mountain ridges in altitudes of 3,000 feet or greater.
The General Assembly is trying to craft regulations for building electricity-generating wind turbines in North Carolina, and the legislative winds have been blowing hot and cold. ...state senators swayed back and forth on a bill setting the ground rules for getting permits to develop utility-scale wind both in the western mountains and along the coast. It's the mountain ridge-top issue, however, that's at the heart of the controversy.
But there are a lot of questions about wind energy, too, and Gov. Bev Perdue is right to insist that the state have more answers about the suitability of wind power for this region.
Her views have taken on added importance at a time when the Obama administration is pushing wind power along the coast as well as preparing for offshore exploration.
We congratulate all involved — county commissioners and the county Planning Department — for the county’s tall structure ordinance, which commissioners unanimously approved Monday night.
As Lori Wynn says today in a front-page story, it took nine months of public hearings, multiple drafts and countless e-mails, but Carteret County finally has an ordinance regulating wind turbines and communication towers. ...While Progress Energy would have bought the power, that would not have mitigated any electricity to customers because wind is unpredictable and energy generated from industrial wind power can’t be stored so conventional energy sources would still be necessary.
As chairman of Responsible Citizens for Responsible Energy (RCRE), our stand has never been to ban wind turbines from Carteret County. As our name implies, our main goal is to obtain responsible siting in the pending ordinance. It is our elected and appointed officials responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Carteret County by adopting an ordinance which mandates a safe and responsible setback of wind turbines from neighboring homes and properties.
I would simply like simple answers to simple questions, i.e., what happens when the wind doesn't blow?; what happens when the wind blows too hard?; how many dirty power plants will be decommissioned as a result of embracing wind power?; how many projected new plants now on the books will be scrapped?; will the air over the Smoky Mountains become cleaner and clearer as a result of wind turbines?; will ozone alerts become fewer and farther between?; where are we going to put 300,000 wind turbines to meet the proposed goal of generating 20 percent of the nation's electricity by 2025?
In my humble opinion when any organization actively pursuing wind power options, promoting legislation that would support those options and taking it upon themselves to define responsible siting criteria publishes a "model" ordinance, it's going to be an ordinance promoting the interest of wind production and wind producers.
And what could have prompted the need for wind proponents to create their own model ordinance? Well, according to Brent Summerville, wind program manager at ASU's Energy Center, "Some wind ordinances have passed that are not favorable to utility scale wind development.