Library filed under Energy Policy from North Carolina

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.
8 Jul 2009

Officials rush to clear way for ‘green' wind power

And there are still plenty of people in North Carolina who believe harnessing the coast's winds holds great potential to meet at least part of the state's future energy needs. But any proposal to build an offshore wind farm today would run into an obstacle that could be a tougher challenger than the economics of cheap oil and not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) protests.
26 Jun 2009

N.C. right to study wind power impact on coast

But there are a lot of questions about wind energy, too, and Gov. Bev Perdue is right to insist that the state have more answers about the suitability of wind power for this region. Her views have taken on added importance at a time when the Obama administration is pushing wind power along the coast as well as preparing for offshore exploration.
12 Apr 2009

Coastal Carolina breezes eyed as major energy source

Wind over waters less than 100 feet deep could supply at least 20 percent of the electricity needs of most coastal states, the Interior Department report says. Erecting wind turbines in shallow water would be cheaper and easier than in deep water. But allowing North Carolina's first commercial-scale wind turbines won't be a quick or easy decision.
6 Apr 2009

The Naturalist's Corner: The dark side

I would simply like simple answers to simple questions, i.e., what happens when the wind doesn't blow?; what happens when the wind blows too hard?; how many dirty power plants will be decommissioned as a result of embracing wind power?; how many projected new plants now on the books will be scrapped?; will the air over the Smoky Mountains become cleaner and clearer as a result of wind turbines?; will ozone alerts become fewer and farther between?; where are we going to put 300,000 wind turbines to meet the proposed goal of generating 20 percent of the nation's electricity by 2025?
13 Aug 2008

What's behind Duke's wind-power push?

Wind power is certainly growing fast, even if Congress hasn't gotten around to extending clean-energy tax credits. Plenty of states are boosting renewable-energy targets. The Department of Energy is chuffed about wind's potential. And even if the Lieberman-Warner climate bill sank, U.S. industries know there will be some pricetag put on carbon emissions pretty soon. That will make wind (and nuclear) more attractive. But maybe the deal is just a way to burnish Big Power's image at a time when energy companies are taking fire from all directions. Catamount's wind-power assets are a drop in the bucket compared to Duke's overall generation mix. Catamount's U.S. assets, part of the massive Sweetwater wind-farm complex in Texas, equates to about 300 megawatts of power, or about one-quarter of some of Duke's big coal-fired plants and less than 1% of Duke's total generation portfolio.
27 Jun 2008

Duke Energy plans $100M investment in solar

Duke Energy Carolinas is ramping up plans to generate some of its own renewable energy, with the company primarily warming up to solar power. ...Duke has been considering its options on owning alternative energy capacity or buying it. Chief Executive Jim Rogers says the corporation has decided its utilities will do both. ...Rogers says some of Duke's utilities will also own their own wind capacity. But he says wind energy is a less likely alternative in the Carolinas. Duke may negotiate the purchase of wind energy here. But the only place wind farms would work in Duke's footprint is along the ridge lines in the western mountains and along the coast. "I'm not sure many environmentalists would salute that proposal," Rogers says.
12 May 2008

The meaning of ‘green'

Those who want America to turn to alternative energy might ponder that "Everyone from the U.S. Energy Information Agency to the U.N." agrees," says the Journal, "that fossil fuels will still account for as much as 80% of the world energy needs through 2030, even with efficient gains and major growth in alternatives." ...Writing in The Weekly Standard on alternative energy, William Tucker says "those 30-story windmills " like the three proposed for Bettie" "produce 1½ megawatts apiece" about 1/750th the power of a conventional generating station. Getting 1,000 megawatts would require a wind farm of 75 miles square." He adds wind, hydro and all the "alternate" sources of energy are dubbed "green" because they are supposedly clean, renewable and sustainable, but in fact what being "green" really mean is they all require vast amounts of land.
10 May 2008

'Renewables' are pie in the sky

Too often the energy companies have allowed claims about renewable energy to go unchallenged. Experience shows that once the public learns about the effects, those expectations fall back to Earth. Just look at wind power in North Carolina, if you can. Wind farms haven't gotten off the ground here because, thus far, North Carolinians have objected to looking at a wind turbine larger than a hamster wheel. On Monday, Carteret County decreed a nine-month moratorium on wind turbines, after residents complained about potential noise, vibration, harm to wildlife, visual blight and a host of other concerns. Who knew wind turbines were as dangerous as a Navy outlying landing field?
5 Mar 2008

Carteret commissioners adopt moratorium on windmills

Carteret County commissioners adopted a moratorium Monday on issuing permits to build windmills. The action followed a public hearing in which an impassioned and overflow crowd mostly agreed the county needs more information. A total of 17 signed up to speak for and against the concept of wind energy in a hurricane-prone county. They focused specifically on the location and plans for the proposed Golden Wind Farm near the community of Bettie. That proposal is now before the N.C. Utilities Commission. The moratorium passed unanimously and will allow the county nine months to study wind-energy technology and its use and regulation nationally and in coastal areas.
4 Mar 2008

Progress sees shift to renewables; Customer demand and carbon gas limits will force changes, the utility warns investors

Progress Energy's customer surveys, presented at a conference for Wall Street analysts that the company hosted in Florida, show how far public opinion has swung in this state on combating climate change. Progress Energy, which has 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida, said public opinion virtually eliminated coal plants as an option. ..."It's important to know where customers stand, because policymakers are going to be responding to public opinion," John McArthur, the company's general counsel and senior vice president, told the analysts. ...Now Progress officials say they have a new challenge: The public may be overly optimistic about the potential for renewable energy. Though environmental advocates have said alternative energy is cheaper than building power plants, Progress executives said renewables are costly and not as dependable as power plants. "The public has unrealistic expectations about renewables," McArthur said. "They think it's twice as important as reliability."
1 Mar 2008

Carteret sets public hearing on tower moratorium

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.
7 Feb 2008

New North Carolina law triggers flurry of wind turbine plans

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.
14 Oct 2007

Energy bill OK'd in House

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.
1 Aug 2007

Wind farm fails to generate support

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.
28 Jul 2007

Energy bill amended

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.
24 Jul 2007
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