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N.C. right to study wind power impact on coast

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.

Soundside sites may be in order, but more answers are needed.

State law officially encourages the production of renewable energy - requires it, in fact. And one obvious source of renewable energy is the wind that blows often along North Carolina's coastline and its mountains. The opportunities to take advantage of a cheap source of energy are obvious.

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. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said this month that "we have huge energy potential" on the Atlantic coastline, particularly off Delaware, Massachusetts and other Northeastern states.

There's a big potential on the N.C. coast as well - not offshore, where ferocious storms might be a problem, but inside the state's famous Outer Banks. Researchers have looked at the possibility of putting wind farms with 300-foot towers and huge three-bladed rotors - in the relatively shallow waters of Pamlico... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Soundside sites may be in order, but more answers are needed.

State law officially encourages the production of renewable energy - requires it, in fact. And one obvious source of renewable energy is the wind that blows often along North Carolina's coastline and its mountains. The opportunities to take advantage of a cheap source of energy are obvious.

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. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said this month that "we have huge energy potential" on the Atlantic coastline, particularly off Delaware, Massachusetts and other Northeastern states.

There's a big potential on the N.C. coast as well - not offshore, where ferocious storms might be a problem, but inside the state's famous Outer Banks. Researchers have looked at the possibility of putting wind farms with 300-foot towers and huge three-bladed rotors - in the relatively shallow waters of Pamlico Sound, for instance. It's a relatively sparsely populated area where strong winds often blow. It would seem to be a natural fit.

But there are a lot of questions. Would wind farms that featured dozens of wind generators mar the view or enhance it? Would the winds blow steadily enough to make the investment in equipment worth the trouble? Would noise from rapidly turning rotors disturb humans or the diverse wildlife that inhabit the area? Would the rotors cause the death of migratory waterfowl and other birds that make the area such an attractive place for birdwatchers as well as hunters? And would the energy generated there contribute measurably and consistently to the region's energy assets?

These questions and more must be satisfied before the state permits large-scale wind farms. The answers may well point to an enthusiastic yes on wind energy in this state. But first we need to know the answers.


Source: http://www.charlotteobserve...

APR 12 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19786-n-c-right-to-study-wind-power-impact-on-coast
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