The State Energy Office will be allocating $300,000 of their share of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to the University of North Carolina in a continuation of their coastal wind study to:
“contract with a third party by October 1, 2009, to design, permit, procure, construct, establish, operate, and reclaim as appropriate at the end of their economic life up to three demonstration turbines and necessary support facilities in the sounds or off the coast of North Carolina by September 1, 2010” (pg. 60, Senate Bill 202).
Curiously, $300,000 is nowhere near enough to build even one utility-scale (think wind farm) turbine in the sound or off-shore. An individual 750-kw turbine would cost at least $800,000 according to information provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. Additional costs would be incurred for offshore turbines as utility infrastructure improvements will be needed if we’d like to use the energy generated.
Interestingly enough, the $25 million Aquarium Pier in Nags Head, currently seeking private funding for “green” aspects, is designed to accommodate three 10-kw wind turbines at an estimated cost of $300,000. Although ARRA funds cannot be used on aquarium projects, an agreement between the Aquariums Division and The University for the pilot turbines to be located on the pier would not be surprising.
Additionally, not only has the General Assembly instructed the State Property Office and the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources to expedite the permitting of the project and to waive any applicable fees, this project is exempted from a number of state statutes. Most concerning are the exemptions from statues requiring a competitive public bidding for the contract, certification that bids were submitting without collusion as well as prohibiting bribes to be taken in exchange for the contract. The project is also exempted from statutes outlined by the Environmental Policy Act and the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act of 1973.