Articles from North Carolina
A proposal to build the nation’s tallest wind energy turbines in Eastern North Carolina is on hold after Perquimans County commissioners denied a local permit to the project developer, Apex Clean Energy. ...The project faced particularly strong opposition in Perquimans County, where 54 of the proposed 57 turbines were to be built on timber land owned by Weyerehaeuser Corp.
“There is a place for this project, but from a noise level it’s not here,” Johnson said. “There is too much at risk. They (Apex) need to be sent back … on the noise side.” Essick said Apex has not presented proof that property values won’t be hurt.
During four days of hearings before the Chowan County Board of Commissioners, Apex presented testimony on topics such as health, sound and property values. The opposition offered testimony from its own witnesses, including two who spoke about the project's potential impact on soil and water resources.
In interviews last week at the Edenton Coffee House and at the family home – a wooden structure built around 1770 and known as Paradise Plantatation – Flynn expressed concern about the effects that sound from the nearby wind turbine could have on his and his family's health.
The Perquimans County Commission rejected two appeals to cut short the review of the Apex Clean Energy wind power project because Apex didn’t submit a complete application and failed to meet the burden of proving the project was safe.
The county commission will be required to affirm the project will no[t] (A) materially endanger the public heath and safety, (B) the projects meets the required conditions and specifications, (C) that is will not substantially injure the value of adjoining or abutting property or that the use is a public necessity and (D) the location and character of the use is in harmony with the area and is in general conformity with the county land use plan.
The fuel source for wind energy may be free, but everything needed to produce electricity costs Americans money, time and will affect the health of those living closest to the turbine sites.
Opposition to wind farms has intensified around the country in recent years as the skyscraping towers encroach on residential areas and turbine designs get bigger and taller and ever more powerful. Some who live near these energy farms in other states are complaining of headaches, dizziness, sleep disruption and general annoyance caused by whooshing blades, flickering shadows and strobing hazard lights.
But some lawmakers in eastern North Carolina still aren’t sold on the concept, citing health and safety concerns, especially for military pilots. They failed to pass legislation on the matter in the General Assembly this year, but eight legislators vowed to continue the fight in 2017.
North Carolina’s renewable energy mandate will cause a spike in electric bills and the loss of more than 43,000 jobs by the end of the decade, a new study contends.
As turbines start to dot farmland near Elizabeth City, part of the in-progress Amazon Wind Farm, the Apex project to the south, dubbed Timbermill Wind, is nearing the public hearing phase.
This year’s bill, The Military Operations Protection Act, was pitched by the senator as a way to make sure projects aren’t built that are incompatible with military flight paths. But critics have called it an attack on wind energy since it eliminates much of the state, including major portions of Eastern North Carolina, as potential sites for wind energy projects.
“Make no mistake – if we fail to fully protect our military installations, decision-makers in Washington could award them to states that will, and our local communities will be left picking up the pieces. Three taxpayer subsidized wind projects that create few jobs for North Carolinians should not take priority over the hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars that we could jeopardize if we fail to stand up for our military.”
While at least two Texas legislators are drafting proposals that would limit the construction of wind turbines near military bases, a similar effort is underway in North Carolina.
The legislation, House Bill 763, prohibits the skyscraping wind turbines from going up in military flight paths. The bill, which applies safety standards that are stricter than those typically used by the Department of Defense, passed the state Senate this week and now awaits a vote in the House.
The bill, which now heads to the House after a 33-14 vote, would prohibit the facilities in a large swatch of central and eastern North Carolina. The measure got support from senators concerned that allowing tall wind turbines in low-altitude training routes for jets and helicopter would strike a blow against preserving units at military installations.
“This new regulation will clearly prevent land-based wind farms in North Carolina,” he said. “Wind farms would be barred in every color (zone) that you see on the map. Much of the remaining area includes major urban centers or are places otherwise unsuitable for wind energy. … No wind developer will commit millions of dollars to develop a project that will have to hit a moving regulatory target … If this passes in its current form, there’s likely to be no future land-based wind energy in North Carolina.”
Judge dismissed a legal challenge to the project on Wednesday. A Perquimans County couple had argued the project should be subject to additional reviews. Now under construction, the 104-turbine wind farm will be the largest in the Southeast.
Under the bill, wind facilities would not be allowed in areas described in a color-coded map, which measures the height of military aircraft training flights. The map was created by a company hired by the state, Brown said, and differs from an air traffic pattern map the Pentagon uses.
A proposal headed to the Senate floor would add requirements to the lengthy permitting process for wind farms to ensure they don't conflict with the training needs of North Carolina military bases.