Articles from North Carolina
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.
The N.C. Utilities Commission said Thursday that it had no legal authority to reject the Pantego Wind Energy Facility, which would spread over 11,000 acres in Beaufort County. But the state commission said the wind farm can't move ahead until it receives state and federal environmental permits and meets other strict conditions.
Wind energy is not going to be cheap. There is just no way that's going to happen ... that was recognized early on. But if jobs could come to North Carolina en masse ... that would overcome negativity with the cost of generating it." But the prospect for jobs locally is unclear. Any wind turbines erected off the coast would most likely be constructed in federal waters.
Prospects for a proposed wind energy farm in Eastern North Carolina are likely to remain iffy as long as naturalists and environmentalists have doubts about the project on account of its proximity to a wild bird refuge.
At least two utility companies have declined deals to buy power from Iberdrola Renewables' proposed large-scale wind farm here, potentially derailing the $600 million project. Both companies - Dominion Power and Progress Energy - say the price of the power was simply too high.
But months of talks with neighboring power companies have failed to yield a contract. Iberdrola will not be able to finance the project until it can show institutional lenders a long-term contract with guaranteed cash flow. Progress Energy in Raleigh, one of Desert Wind's potential customers, ended talks with Iberdrola after the parties couldn't agree.
The project has been approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission. It would cost about $600 million to build. And construction must start before year end to qualify for a 30% federal tax break. The trouble has been that Iberdrola has not been able to secure a contract from any utility that serves North Carolina to buy the power the wind-farm would produce.
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.
An 11,000-acre wind energy farm proposed near a wildlife refuge in northeastern North Carolina is facing concerns about the fate of thousands of migrating swans and geese that would share air space with giant spinning turbines.
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.
But in order to secure the financing needed to begin construction this year, the 300-megawatt Desert Wind Energy Project wind farm near Elizabeth City needs to have a long-term contract with an electric utility so it can generate revenue by selling its power output to that utility. If it doesn't fall through, the Desert Wind project would be one of the largest such projects in the country.
Critics have pointed to several problems, not the least of which is the windmills - with blades turning at 200 mph - might be trouble for migratory waterfowl from nearby Pungo National Wildlife Refuge and other wildlife. Also, a successful project could result in more land might be gobbled up and more windmills erected, opponents say.
Craig Poff, the senior developer for Iberdrola Renewables’ 300-megawatt wind farm planned near Elizabeth City, says it is almost impossible complete his project by the end of 2012 if he has to wait months to get a contract. “The timing is unfortunate,” he says.
Chicago-based Invenergy has notified the N.C. Utilities Commission that it plans to build a 49-turbine facility on 11,000 acres in Beaufort County. If approved, the Pantego Wind Energy projectwould begin generating electricity in December 2012.
A long ride on a dusty Pasquotank County farm road - a right after the tractor shed, a left at the edge of the bean field - eventually leads to a recently harvested wheat field two miles from the nearest paved road.
Onshore wind farms appear to be more hazardous to wildlife, said Dr. Peterson, mainly because there are more birds and bats on the coast than miles out at sea. Offshore, marine life could also be affected, he said, as the construction or sound of the turbines may affect their habitat.
Propes, however, said "these maps are sort of directional (and) are no way near final. There's still a heck of a lot of lease blocks that remain viable," though he admitted that the military exclusions were pretty much beyond change.
Legislators introduced six bills concerning energy last Tuesday, a tenth of all the energy bills proposed so far this year. Most focused on job creation through the energy sector instead of environmental regulation as they had under the Democratic majority.
Gamesa intends to sell the electricity generated by the turbine to recoup some of its design-and-build costs - which, Hopper estimated, could be as high as $20 million. The company aims to install the turbine next year. As far as what the project could mean economically for Dare County, Hopper committed to nothing.