Articles from North Carolina
Insurance issues are an area of major concern. In 2007 our state insurance commissioners granted a 25% increase in rates in coastal areas covering "wind and hail coverage." This coverage is no longer included as a part of our homeowner's insurance coverage or premium. This clearly states coastal North Carolina is a "hazardous wind area" that has evidently cost insurance companies more money for repairs and clean up than they liked at prior rates, thereby reducing profits. If "wind" is a problem for insurance companies, like a nor'easter, what will it be with "unregulated" industrial wind turbine farms? This would be an accident waiting to happen and we're the ones that will "again pay the ultimate price."
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.
A year ago, the fight over wind power in North Carolina was centered on the high-country ridges of Ashe County. A rematch this year looks to be taking place on the opposite end of the state, in coastal Carteret County. The mountains-and-coast connection is no accident. Those two regions, 300 or more miles apart, harbor the state's highest wind energy potential -- and some of the best scenery. One of the chief arguments of wind power critics is that the three-bladed electricity-generating turbines so disrupt the view that they drive away tourists and lower property values.
The Board of Commissioners has set a public hearing for 6 p.m. March 3 to receive public comments on the "possibility of imposing a moratorium for any approvals for the construction or erection of towers, electric generating windmills, and similar type of tall structures in Carteret County so the impacts can be studied and any needed regulations can be adopted." There are no specific criteria in county ordinances that apply to windmills or other similar structures, and Davis said that leaves the Bettie community east of Beaufort vulnerable to potential noise, height, safety and other concerns from the proposed windmill turbines. While detailed final plans have not been developed, initial proposals include three windmills as tall as 340 feet with a blade diameter of about 271 feet. ...Commissioner Jonathan Robinson said he doesn't have a problem with developing renewable energy sources, but the county should also look at what impacts may be involved and where windmills, towers and other tall structures should be.
A couple looking to build three electricity-generating wind turbines in rural North Carolina is facing opposition from neighbors who say the towering windmills will create noise and disrupt the aesthetic scenery of their coastal community. Nelson and Dianna Paul, who live in Raleigh, have asked the North Carolina Utilities Commission for permission to build the Golden Wind Farm on a 33-acre tract of open land in Bettie, a town about seven miles northeast of Beaufort. If successful, it would be the largest wind farm in the state. ...Representatives of the North Carolina Public Staff, which advocates for the public before the commission, recommended the panel grant a permit if the FAA approves the project. The commission is expected to issue a decision in the next several months.
Though most support the need for cleaner energy, neighbors in Bettie, a rural community about seven miles northeast of Beaufort, objected to the project. They contend that the towering wind turbines would be noisy and unattractive, and would spoil the enjoyment of their property. The turbines, including the blades, could stand up to 464 feet high -- more than twice the height of the Cape Lookout lighthouse, the familiar sentinel on the Outer Banks, and taller even than the 30-story Wachovia Capitol Center in downtown Raleigh. "You're going to be able to see it from Beaufort and Morehead City," said Brady Golden, who lives across from the property. "Highway 70 is a scenic highway. There are a lot of questions the people of Bettie have."
A Raleigh couple, Nelson and Dianna Paul, are seeking permission from the Public Utilities Commission to build North Carolina's first large-scale wind mills on coastal property they own. ...The utilities commission did not vote on the proposal today, and may not take action for a couple of months. Many residents of the coastal community of Bettie, where the Pauls own property, oppose the windmills, which would stand nearly 500 feet tall.
It was a minor demonstration of the 50-kilowatt wind turbine, but over the next year it is expected to produce about 110,000 kilowatt hours - enough to power 10 homes - and save Blackwater around $10,000, Vogel said. If this turbine, erected last month at a cost of $180,000, contributes enough to the electricity needs of the 70,000-square-foot Grizzly plant, then Blackwater could put up more turbines and add credence to the forecast that North Carolina coastal counties can effectively use wind power. "We're in a wait-and-see mode on future installations," Vogel said. The rest of the state is looking at the Blackwater turbine, said Brent Summerville, outreach and training programs manager for the North Carolina Small Wind Initiative at Appalachian State University. "Everything that is installed is going to get scrutiny," Summerville said. "Projects like this
Fears of spoiled views and banged-up birds have led to years of appeals and at least one outright ban of wind turbines in some places. A different story has played out in Currituck County over the past five months, leading to one of the first countywide wind energy ordinances in North Carolina. Approved unanimously by the Board of Commissioners Tuesday night, the ordinance makes erecting a single wind turbine up to 120 feet tall a relatively easy process. Larger projects would require commissioner approval, and in some cases a public hearing and environmental impact study.
Currituck commissioners tonight will consider a new ordinance that could pave the way for the installation of electricity-generating wind turbines throughout the county. Commissioners are being asked to consider two proposals that would allow residents and business owners the ability to generate their own electricity. One, recommended by county staffers and the Currituck Planning Commission, requires the applicant to receive a special-use permit to install a wind turbine. Under the proposal, wind turbines would be subject to setback, design and height restrictions. The other proposal, put forward by East Coast Windpower, a company that wants to install wind turbines, would allow turbines in all zoning districts without a special use permit, but restrict their height to 60 feet. ...The setback between a turbine and U.S. Highway 158, N.C. Highway 168, and N.C. Highway 12 would have to be 750 feet. A utility-scale facility would have to have a minimum lot size of 25 acres, and the turbine could be no taller than 500 feet. The setback between occupied building and the turbine would have to be 750 feet.
Currituck's strong coastal winds are quickly turning the county into a magnet for companies hoping to sell electricity-generating wind turbines. Several companies have expressed interest in selling wind turbines in Currituck, including one headquartered in Spain and another from Maryland. ...The only holdup to the use of wind power in Currituck right now is the lack of a county ordinance controlling turbines' placement, installation and use. "The only thing even close our ordinance allows is windmills," Woody said, adding that the devices are generally only up to 35 feet in height and used to move water or crush rock.
A year after a bitter congressional fight over offshore drilling for oil and gas, the Bush administration wants to tap North Carolina's winds, waves and currents as a source for alternative energy. The plans could mean that within a few years, towering wind turbines could spin off North Carolina's Outer Banks to harness the gusts that have tossed ships there for centuries. U.S. Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne said Monday that the 1.8 billion acres of the federal Outer Continental Shelf could become "a new frontier" for the nation's energy resources.
Coastal breezes and a new state law are attracting the first plans for tall wind turbines in northeastern North Carolina, but success depends on their effect on coastal views. ...Maps show the coast is a good place to generate wind-powered energy, but opponents say tall turbines could spoil coastal scenery and weaken tourism. In June, the western North Carolina resort town of Blowing Rock banned wind turbines over concerns that the towers would clutter mountain views. But a new North Carolina law requires utility companies to buy 10 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2018.
Kill Devil Hills resident Manny Medeiros questioned many of the claims, asserting it would take a swath from New York to the Outer Banks to provide the power that a nuclear plant could give. He said he felt the turbines were eyesores and produce only a fraction of the power of conventional energy sources. "It's like comparing lightning to a lightning bug," he said.
Aug. 1--RALEIGH -- North Carolina is on the verge of becoming the first state in the Southeast to require that a significant portion of its electricity come from sources of renewable energy. But the same bill that will mandate more solar and wind energy also contains a provision that environmentalists say will promote the construction of coal and nuclear-power plants. And critics say that the bill could hurt electricity consumers and have other environmentally detrimental effects.
The N.C. Utilities Commission dismissed Calhoun's application Friday, saying he provided insufficient information, despite being granted a 120-day extension. The commission denied the application nine days after Calhoun submitted a letter explaining that no financial institution was willing to invest in his project until the commission approved it. The project was also opposed by the Public Staff, the state's consumer agency in utility matters. The Public Staff concluded that wind turbines are barred in the mountains under the state's Mountain Ridge Protection Act of 1983. The law prohibits the construction of buildings or structures more than 40 feet tall on mountain ridges, but it exempts windmills. Wind power advocates say the windmill exemption allows wind turbines, but the interpretation is unclear. The Public Staff relied on a 2002 legal opinion from the state Attorney General, who concluded that the 1983 law bars commercial-scale wind-power operations.
The N.C. utilities commission dismissed yesterday an application for a commercial wind farm in the Ashe County community of Creston. Last July's application by Northwest Wind Developers to put up 25 to 28 wind turbines created uproar in the mountains, with some people complaining that 300-foot tall turbines would ruin tourism, views and real-estate values. But there were many supporters, too, people who said that the nation needs renewable energy and that wind power is a good source. It would have been the state's first commercial wind farm. For all the hoopla, though, Northwest Wind Developers never really did say just how tall the turbines would be or exactly where they would be, or provide other details the utilities commission had requested at a February hearing in Raleigh. The failure to provide a complete application is the reason for dismissing the case, according to an order issued yesterday by the utilities commission. Northwest could file a new application later, the order said.
A small scale green revolution is under way in Camden County as interest grows in windmill power. That interest has energized County Planning Director Dan Porter, who is faced with drawing up policies on wind power, after the county received its first applications for windmills to generate electricity. "We've had one homeowner in a subdivision that got interested and wanted to know if he could put up a 65-foot wind meter to determine whether it was suitable for a windmill," Porter said Monday. "We don't currently have any regulations on windmills," he said.
State legislators added new environmental protections yesterday to a major energy bill, but they left intact a provision that would make it easier for power companies to build coal and nuclear power plants. The bill would require power companies to begin energy-conservation programs and increase their use of renewable-energy resources. Renewable energy includes solar power, wind power and power generated from the burning of animal waste.
Environmentalist groups have pushed for years for a state policy that requires utilities to develop renewable energy and efficiency programs. But many of those groups are fighting a bill in the General Assembly that includes their long-sought goal.