Plans For Offshore Wind Turbines In NC Waters

Plans are moving forward that could see up to three wind turbines placed in the Pamlico Sound as early as next year to provide power for homes on the Outer Banks. It's all part of a first step that could see massive wind farms placed out in the ocean.

UNC Marine Sciences professor Dr. Harvey Seim is one of the lead researchers for the project between North Carolina and Duke Energy. At his lab in Chapel Hill, he showed us equipment that will be placed in the sound in the coming months to measure the strength of the waves.

The demonstration project would see the turbines placed in the Pamlico Sound, likely ten miles west of Avon and northwest of Buxton. The turbines would provide about ten megawatts of power for about 3,000 homes.

Dr. Seim says, "The blades sweep up to about 450 to 500 feet above the water surface. So they're big structures."

The size of the turbines is a big concern for some. Some business owners, residents and others worry they could ruin the view from the beach. Dr. Seim says,
"At seven to ten miles from shore they're quite small when you're standing on the shore looking out into the sound."

Tourists like Bill Lynch say they're all for wind energy. "With all the stuff going on in the world with the economy, I would think that with oil, anything that would be eco-friendly would be great."

Dr. Seim says the potential exists to supply North Carolina with 100-percent of its power from wind, but that would mean placing turbines in all of the areas under consideration. Right now the goal is 20-percent, which he says would help reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, while creating tens-of-thousands of jobs.

Before the demonstration project gets off the ground, the Army Corps of Engineers has many questions it wants answered before issuing a permit, including the potential impact to migratory birds, possible disruption to essential fish habitats and the overall sea floor. Planners also say they need to account for, ironically, the impact strong winds from hurricanes would have on the turbines.

Officials say it's to early to tell what wind turbines would mean for electric rates.

There is one other offshore wind project that already has a permit off the coast of Massachusetts, but construction has not started and officials here still think they can get the turbines in the water first.

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  • by Steve Location: Beaufort Co. on Jul 4, 2010 at 08:49 AM
    Anonymous at 7:45pm: OSOC can't make his mind up yet about this, however it is NOT his fault. Fox News hasn't told OSOC his position yet on this matter.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 2, 2010 at 04:45 PM
    osoc make up your mind!
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Jul 2, 2010 at 03:45 PM
    Ted, start your google, they are made in china. Some are US made, but most go to china for manufacture. I have no problem with them, however, I have not heard, seen published, the results of the money Bev spent to see if this was OK for NC. OutsideLookingIn, my only concern is how much will it cost and how much will your utility bill go up? No one in NC is talking about that, however, if you utility bill goes up, are you OK with that? Most places that put them in, noticed a big increase in their costs. On the other hand, nuclear is still less expensive than any alternative energy we have. Its cleaner, no noise and last a long time. Google away folks, look for complaints, the good the bad and the ugly, be responsible. This will not stop oil needs as windmills use oil for lubrication, however, it come with a cost like anything your homework.
  • by OutsideLookingIn Location: ENC on Jul 2, 2010 at 02:09 PM
    I've been reading about alternative power sourcing for several years (Mother Earth News). I am 100 percent behind the wind and water power sources. Nothing is 100% perfect, even electricity, so hope to see more research and implementation of this type of power. About time!!
  • by waterman Location: Atlantic Beach on Jul 2, 2010 at 09:43 AM
    A few windmills ruining the view? Its the ocean!!!! Besides you nature lovers do not seem to mind letting your plastic bags blow about and flushing your chemicals into outdated septic systems. But excuse me you cant SEE that junk floating out into a plastic particulate sludge in the middle of the ocean. BUILD THOSE BUGGERS.
  • by nc boi on Jul 2, 2010 at 09:14 AM
    they wanna do it at the obx. but in cali and up north the "higer ups" dont want big turbines in view of their oceanfront properties.. what a joke.
  • by John Location: Washington on Jul 2, 2010 at 07:20 AM
    hey why not, if its going to create jobs which is something we need, then go for it! But are they going to have a "made in china" sticker on them?
  • by Kimo Location: Belhaven on Jul 2, 2010 at 06:47 AM
    Has anyone even thought about the visual pollution this will produce. Or doesn't that count. If you would like to see what I am talking about, just drive by Livermore some time and you will know exactly what I mean. Additionally, we had to stop construction on the Rte. 17 bypass bridge because of the migrating fish. How much underwater noise do you suppose these giant windmills will produce and what do you think that will do to the fish in the sound?? Now, if there is any integrity left among the environmentalists, that is a real dilemma.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Jul 2, 2010 at 05:46 AM
    Gator and Dave, a couple of things, first these are very expensive and if you think it will save you money, you will be in for a surprise, big time. Also, google wind turbine noise and read about the noise impact. Who should be looking into this, game and marine wildlife. If some of you think these will become reefs, guess again. Other countries have these and it doesn't attract, it scares them away. Noises can transmit through water for many miles out. I am not a expert and I didn't stay at the holiday inn, however, fishing could be destroyed in the sound. I am for any form of alternative energy, however, I have no be able to find the nozzle that fits my car yet. Anonymous on Jul 2, 2010 at 06:49 AM, I can tell you why, noise! This techology is accepted, until they want to put one in your backyard...then people are up in arms about it. I saw the papers in Livermore discussing legal action to shut down the turbines......
  • by ted Location: jacksonville on Jul 2, 2010 at 05:15 AM
    The only thing I see wrong is they will all be made in China . What happens if a blade falls off & hits a turtle ? Will they shut off the whole industry?

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