Articles from North Carolina
House Bill 951 started out as a one page bill with a worthy goal, encouraging efficient modular nuclear reactors for producing electricity in our state. It came out of the legislature as a draconian mandate, tracking the proposals of Governor Cooper, that requires North Carolina to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2030. In comparision, the EU legislation passed earlier this year that is already wrecking havoc on European energy markets and dramatically raising electric rates only requires a 50% reduction by 2030.
Apex has been working on Timbermill since at least 2016, but it ran afoul of an 18-month moratorium on wind project construction enacted by the N.C. General Assembly in 2017. That ended in early 2019, but Apex had not sought a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project until June.
In comments submitted today to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the John Locke Foundation’s senior fellow of regulatory studies, economist Jon Sanders, urges environmental reviewers to refrain from moving forward with the proposed Kitty Hawk wind farm project off the North Carolina coastline due to significant negative environmental, economic, and ecological impacts.
The Brunswick Commissioners extended the usual “not-in-my-backyard” thinking to “not-within-27-miles” Monday, voting to oppose construction of wind turbines within 24 nautical miles (about 27 miles) of the county’s shoreline. Although no wind-energy projects are planned for the area, the federal government has identified three Wind Energy Areas (WEA) off the North Carolina coast as potential sites for turbines, which would harness offshore wind to produce electricity.
The opposition movement began earlier this summer in Bald Head Island. The village council approved a resolution in May that makes it clear any efforts to place wind farms within the island’s viewshed — the territory of ocean in which the turbines could be seen from the beach, or the Old Baldy lighthouse — will be met with a fight. The campaign spread to neighboring coastal towns, with Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach passing similar resolutions in July.
Brunswick County’s board of commissioners will consider a resolution opposing offshore wind turbines sited fewer than 24 nautical miles of the shoreline, following the lead of a handful of its oceanfront towns, including Bald Head Island, Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and Caswell Beach.
The EU directive that encouraged the pivot to biomass also left a loophole — it did not prevent the leveling of rooted trees for wood pellet production. “I can’t think of anything that harms nature more than cutting down trees and burning them,” said William Moomaw, professor emeritus of international environmental policy at Tufts University. Yet by burning wood, European power plants can reduce their carbon footprint — at least on paper.
A little more than four years ago, Amazon Wind Farm US East began operations in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties. The same renewable energy company that built the Amazon facility plans to build a similar site off the coast of northeastern North Carolina.
What’s black and white, red all over, and comes to mind when you think of endangered species?
Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina are teaming up on an effort to kickstart wind energy and economic development off their shores. The new initiative provides a framework for the three states to "cooperatively promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce," they said in a joint press release.
At their meeting on Sept. 21, commissioners expressed their intent to extend the moratorium for another six month period since the current one is set to expire on Oct. 6. This would mark the second time that the moratorium has been extended. Commissioners want to extend the moratorium again to give county staff members more time to iron out the details of a new county policy on large solar farms.
Altogether, tracts off of the Carolinas could mean $45 billion in investment, the report reads. But interest has been lower in tracts off the Carolinas for several reasons, including “a lack of an offshore mandate … lower power prices, and lower capacity factors.”
Rather than reprint the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s immortal “Blowing in the Wind” to lead the reader into this story about Chowan County’s wind energy facility ordinance, let’s cut to the chase.
One study noted that people who live or work in close proximity to industrial wind turbines experienced symptoms that include “decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression and cognitive dysfunction. Some have also felt anger, grief or a sense of injustice. Suggested causes of symptoms include a combination of wind turbine noise, infrasound, dirty electricity, ground current and shadow flicker.” As a result of these findings, several European countries increased the setback requirements for turbines from neighboring properties.
Avangrid has been working to bring offshore wind to North Carolina since 2017 when it submitted a $9.1 million bid to lease the 122,000-acre tract off the coast of Kitty Hawk Coastal Reserve. But all along executives have said the process will take time. In addition to regulatory hurdles, it’s a complex and expensive project – made even more difficult by the fact that the tract is miles out to sea.
The study was approved as part of the legislature’s budget, which was vetoed by the governor over other matters.
That particular program ended in 2016, but investors who had projects in progress could keep taking the credits until they had used them up. Some people involved in solar projects created partnerships not only with energy companies but also with banks, insurance companies and other institutions that essentially bought the tax credits. Then last fall, the Revenue Department said it wasn’t going to allow the tax credits in some of those partnership deals that had been used to pay for solar energy projects.
A seven-month investigation and numerous public information requests have revealed the move to increase solar power might be leading to an increase in the very emissions alternative energy sources aim to reduce. ...Without any solar power in the mix, “a typical combined cycle combustion turbine emits NOx at approximately 9-11 lb/hr, assuming 24 hours of ‘normal’ operation,” Crawford said. That is equivalent to 264 pounds of NOx emissions daily. When those same plants are operated to supplement solar power facilities, daily emissions more than double to 624 pounds a day, based on a table in Duke’s application.
Bell said there was enough pushback on a version passed June 24 by the House Committee on Energy and Public Utilities to convince him that a deal can’t be worked out this session. ...Bell said he expected to revisit the bill during the legislature’s short session next year.
ts sponsors, including Sens. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, and Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico, say the bill is necessary to prevent conflicts between wind turbine projects and military training and safety, which in turn would be seen as a negative by a future Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The legislation, Senate Bill 377, is titled the Military Base Protection Act.