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N.C. couple pushes wind-power proposal

Near the town of Bettie in Carteret County, the Pauls plan to build a wind farm of three turbines that would generate enough power for about 900 homes, or about 4.5 megawatts. The 464-foot-high windmills would begin generating power in 2010. "This project, as small as it is, is 90 times larger than the largest wind generation facility currently operating in North Carolina," Nelson Paul wrote in an e-mail. Before the project can begin, the North Carolina Utilities Commission must approve the project and the couple must withstand opposition from neighbors who worry that the turbines will ruin the scenery, Paul said.

For many students, the word "windmill" conjures up scenes from "Don Quixote." But to Nelson and Dianna Paul of Raleigh, swinging turbines are a business opportunity.

Near the town of Bettie in Carteret County, the Pauls plan to build a wind farm of three turbines that would generate enough power for about 900 homes, or about 4.5 megawatts. The 464-foot-high windmills would begin generating power in 2010.

"This project, as small as it is, is 90 times larger than the largest wind generation facility currently operating in North Carolina," Nelson Paul wrote in an e-mail.

Before the project can begin, the North Carolina Utilities Commission must approve the project and the couple must withstand opposition from neighbors who worry that the turbines will ruin the scenery, Paul said.

"I think it is really ironic that people have this huge objection to the aesthetics of a wind plant," said sophomore Kelsey Shaw, co-vice president of Duke's Environmental Alliance. "A coal plant is not only this huge, ugly smokestack, but it is also emitting pollution."

The project faces obstacles other than complaints from Carteret County... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

For many students, the word "windmill" conjures up scenes from "Don Quixote." But to Nelson and Dianna Paul of Raleigh, swinging turbines are a business opportunity.

Near the town of Bettie in Carteret County, the Pauls plan to build a wind farm of three turbines that would generate enough power for about 900 homes, or about 4.5 megawatts. The 464-foot-high windmills would begin generating power in 2010.

"This project, as small as it is, is 90 times larger than the largest wind generation facility currently operating in North Carolina," Nelson Paul wrote in an e-mail.

Before the project can begin, the North Carolina Utilities Commission must approve the project and the couple must withstand opposition from neighbors who worry that the turbines will ruin the scenery, Paul said.

"I think it is really ironic that people have this huge objection to the aesthetics of a wind plant," said sophomore Kelsey Shaw, co-vice president of Duke's Environmental Alliance. "A coal plant is not only this huge, ugly smokestack, but it is also emitting pollution."

The project faces obstacles other than complaints from Carteret County residents, Paul added, including conducting a wind study to confirm the financial details of the project and searching for the actual wind turbines, which are at a world-wide shortage.

"This is not a government endeavor or a goodwill project proposed by a nonprofit," he said. "This project has to stand on its own feet financially."

Shaw said the windmills would be a good way to use the wind potential for energy.

"I think wind power is perfect where it exists, but the drawback is that not every place has the wind to support the farms," Shaw said. "There is plenty of potential on the coast and in the mountains."

In August, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, becoming the first state in the Southeast to do so. The law requires investor-owned utilities in North Carolina to use 12.5 percent renewable energy by 2020.

With the new law in place, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power may see increased demand.

The law stipulates that companies can purchase renewable energy directly from sources or can purchase renewable energy certificates.

The University supports renewable energy through offset credits, Shaw said.

"Duke purchases all of its energy from Duke Energy, which is primarily coal and some nuclear, but we do buy offset credits," she said. "We are not directly using the wind, but we are paying to support it."

Shaw said the legislation mandating use of renewable energy is important because of the potential to bring prices of wind and other renewable energy sources to a more comparable level with coal and oil.

Pen-Yuan Hsing, a sophomore, said wind power could be a big step toward developing alternative energy sources.

"If this couple is successful in implementing the project on a larger scale, then it could be a major development for North Carolina," Hsing said. "I think they should be given that opportunity."

Paul said he hoped North Carolinians would support the new source of renewable energy.

"Commercial wind energy development is the perfect industry for coastal North Carolina," Paul said. "Everyone should get on board and embrace the movement rather than fight it."


Source: http://media.www.dukechroni...

FEB 21 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/13432-n-c-couple-pushes-wind-power-proposal
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