According to the News & Observer, a wind farm under consideration in Northeastern North Carolina has received no resistance to its construction by area residents. The wind farm is located in an area known as “The Desert,” which is a strip of land that extends into both Pasquotank and Perquimans counties. The move comes at a time when the United States Navy was considering building an outlying landing field in the same location. The Pilot Online reported in November 2010 that “citizen groups and elected officials have opposed the project, hiring attorneys, lobbyists and engineers in an effort to stop the Navy’s plans. But locals fear the Navy could move ahead anyway.”
Continued, “Massive wind farms with 400-foot towers could make the difference, said Matt Wood, a Pasquotank County commissioner.”
Following a year-long study to confirm wind speeds maintain an average of 12 to 14 mph, Craig Poff, senior business developer for Oregon-based Iberdrola Renewables, “wouldn’t tell the online news source the exact wind data from the meteorological towers, but said the numbers are good enough that the clean energy company is “moving forward” with the project.” Iberdrola is the driving force behind “The Desert” project.
The wind farm project is being based off of a project built in Somerset County, southeast of Pittsburgh, PA, where Iberdrola constructed a 121 wind turbine farm. Along with Pasquotank and Perquimans counties, Currituck County leaders also visited the Somerset wind farm to gather background on a possible wind turbine research project. Currituck County Economic Development Director Peter Bishop, who went on the trip to Pennsylvania, was quoted on the county’s economic development Web site as saying, “he was surprised to learn the turbines don’t make a lot of noise.”
“I mean, they’re definitely large and you can see them on the horizon,” Bishop said. “But as we were there on the wind farm, it was like a whooshing noise.”
That noise, being downplayed by politicians, has become a nuisance for some PA residents like Rodger A. Hutzell Jr., who wrote a letter complaining about it. Hutzell wrote, “I was never made aware of any type of noise nuisances produced by these industrial turbines prior to their construction.”
A March 27, 2011 Pilot Online article explained a Dare County wind research project, “An experimental wind machine that could reach 500 feet into the Outer Banks skyline will be the subject of a public hearing April 18. If it wins Dare County commissioners’ approval, the project could pave the way for future offshore wind farms.”
Continued, “The biggest change would be the addition of wind-energy turbines to the list of approved conditional uses in the Highway 345 Business District – granted that the turbine is associated with a “public university research agency.”
“In this case, that agency would be the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute. Several of the turbines’ proposed sites are located on the campus, and Director Nancy White has said the institute is interested in partnering with Gamesa Energy – one of two companies partnering to build the turbine.” The other company is Northrop Gunman.
White said at a commissioner’s meeting, “Renewable energy isn’t going to improve without research.”
The questions is, improve at whose expense, both financially and viability? The Dare County Commissioner public hearing is April 18 and begins at 5:30 p.m.