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Measure on wind energy omits mountains

The measure, approved by the agriculture, environment and natural resources committee, requires permits for windmills on the coast. Wind is part of a 2007 state law that mandates increased production from renewable energy sources. But mountain turbines were dropped, said Sen. Charles Albertson, who sponsored the measure, because some lawmakers worried about the effects on tourism and aesthetics.

Senate committee passes bill that would let permits be issued for windmills, but only on the coast.

An N.C. Senate committee approved a wind-energy bill Tuesday that omits mention of one of the state's breeziest regions, the mountains.

The measure, approved by the agriculture, environment and natural resources committee, requires permits for windmills on the coast. Wind is part of a 2007 state law that mandates increased production from renewable energy sources.

But mountain turbines were dropped, said Sen. Charles Albertson, who sponsored the measure, because some lawmakers worried about the effects on tourism and aesthetics. Albertson said he hopes the bill will be revised to address mountain projects as it moves to the finance committee.

"At this point we haven't gotten them on board on the western part of the state," he said. "We're still working on it, and hopefully we can all arrive at a position we can agree on."

The two committee members from the mountains, Sen. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, and Sen. John Snow, D-Murphy, didn't return calls.

In its original form, the measure addressed both ends of the state, following the recommendations of a committee formed to advise legislators. A... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Senate committee passes bill that would let permits be issued for windmills, but only on the coast.

An N.C. Senate committee approved a wind-energy bill Tuesday that omits mention of one of the state's breeziest regions, the mountains.

The measure, approved by the agriculture, environment and natural resources committee, requires permits for windmills on the coast. Wind is part of a 2007 state law that mandates increased production from renewable energy sources.

But mountain turbines were dropped, said Sen. Charles Albertson, who sponsored the measure, because some lawmakers worried about the effects on tourism and aesthetics. Albertson said he hopes the bill will be revised to address mountain projects as it moves to the finance committee.

"At this point we haven't gotten them on board on the western part of the state," he said. "We're still working on it, and hopefully we can all arrive at a position we can agree on."

The two committee members from the mountains, Sen. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, and Sen. John Snow, D-Murphy, didn't return calls.

In its original form, the measure addressed both ends of the state, following the recommendations of a committee formed to advise legislators. A later version amended a 1983 state law to include wind turbines among the tall structures banned on mountain ridge tops.

That version would have banned even small turbines, said Dennis Scanlin, an Appalachian State University professor and renewable-energy expert. ASU operates wind turbines on nearby Beech Mountain as a showpiece for wind technology.

If adopted, that legislation would mean "we're running a demonstration center to educate people in a technology that we can't even use," Scanlin said.

Later Tuesday, the committee approved the version that discusses only coastal wind projects. It gives the state Coastal Resources Commission authority to issue permits after detailed studies, including the impacts on views, and a public hearing.

It would be a mistake for lawmakers to ignore the mountains, said Glenn Mauney, a Charlotte-based official of Wind Energy Consulting & Contracting, an energy company. Mauney served on a committee formed to advise legislators on wind measures.

The state's richest wind resource is on coastal sounds, Mauney said, locations that will likely raise environmental concerns. The next-best location, he said, is in the mountains - and wind turbines will have to be positioned near the ridge tops to catch it.


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

JUL 8 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/21037-measure-on-wind-energy-omits-mountains
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