Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wind farms on Ocracoke? Nope

The state Senate has suspended debate on a bill to control the permitting of industrial wind farms, apparently over a dispute between competing environmental concerns in Western North Carolina. Some environmentalists, and others, want to be able to put commercial wind turbines on mountain ridges, where they'll get the best winds, to help generate alternative, sustainable energy; other environmentalists, and others, want to keep them off the ridges because wind farms with turbines soaring into the sky would mar the view and destroy what's unique about the mountains.

This dispute caused Democrats to interrupt Senate debate Wednesday afternoon, and finally to return the bill to a Senate committee.

The bill at the moment allows commercial wind farms in coastal areas -- offshore, or in the sounds, but not in parks, national seashores or other inappropriate places. The current bill also restricts commercial wind turbines in Western North Carolina -- barring them from ridge tops, to comply with the 1983 ridge law preventing tall structures.

Sen. Steve Goss, D-Watauga, wanted to allow them in certain ridge top areas; Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, was against that, but would allow them in other areas as well as smaller windmills for single family residences.

Nesbitt argued that the plan for allowing wind farms on the coast prohibited them in national seashores and on the state's barrier islands; the law also ought to ban them on the state's magnificent ridge tops.

As he put it, lawmakers would not allow wind farms at Kitty Hawk near the Wright Brothers Memorial, nor would it allow them on Ocracoke Island, nor would it allow them on top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. "They're national treasures," he said. "If they damaged our crown jewels along the coast, I dare say we'd be here voting no."


BadGenius said...

These people are idiots. This is exactly the narrow minded view that will keep us dependent on utility companies and big oil. Kitty Hawk near the Wright Brothers Memorial would be a great location for wind sculptures.

Anonymous said...

Lots of people love the idea of alternative energy such as wind farms - unless it's in their back yard.

The NIMBYs strike again.

Wade said...

Wind farms are not as good as people think. If you live near one, it can cause serious health problems due to the constant rhythmic vibrations. Furthermore, wind farms are murder, literally, on birds. Every energy source has a trade off. There is one good thing about wind, unlike solar, it is efficient provided the wind blows.

The best source of energy is nuclear. Meltdowns are impossible on new reactors. (In fact, there have been 0 deaths in the US from nuclear power, including the still working Three Mile Island.) Modern reactors produce 10 cubic feet of waste per year after reprocessing. Uranium is not controlled by hostile interests. And nuclear power produces the most energy.

Environmentalism hates facts. So they oppose nuclear on baseless grounds. But they support "green" energy even though it cannot possibly supply our energy needs because of a myth called climate change. Another myth is that solar panels are efficient and "green". Mass production solar panels are only 11% efficient and require many earth un-friendly chemicals to make.

Every energy source has trade-offs. The cheapest way to give us cheap energy is nuclear. Cheap energy = prosperity. Wind and solar will not provide that. These so-called green sources of energy are best in small scale installations like homes and businesses.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8:23 and Wade are both absolutely correct. Windmills as a concept sound great, but when they're in your backyard or even nearby, making a constant ultra-low-frequency noise from the whooshing of their blades and casting long, dancing shadows across your windows every couple of seconds, they're suddenly not so attractive. And in order for them to generate any sort of meaningful amount of power, you've got to have huge numbers of them. I just flew back from the West Coast recently and saw giant clusters of windmills somewhere in the Midwest; from 35,000 feet, they're as ugly as smokestacks. There's no telling how many birds they've killed or what ill effects they've had on neighboring wildlife, farm animals, and even people.

mary said...

I am so happy people are talking wind
I love verticle wind turbines (the little ones)no shawdow and bird friendly . We are figureing it out!
sooo I have been following wind development across the US for the last 3 years
I am not a techie nor a scientist
Just a retired nurse.
FRANKLY WE HAVE BEEN BURNING CARBON SINCE THE DAWN OF THE CAVE MAN, And now we will move on and harness the wind. No nuclear waste to bury and seep.
This one fellow in Hawaii last week told one big (ONE)massive turbine out in the sound could power the whole population of Ocracoke free
. Free power
what if we had 2 ???
Its a big sound maybe 5 miles out ???
This is exciting !
want to talk .... e mail me Mary V
I am open to all psssibilities except a nuc plant on the outer banks

Anonymous said...

I think the problem is people just haven't gotten used to seeing them yet. We are conditioned now that we don't even notice all the huge utility poles and cell phone towers all around us. Eventually wind turbines will be the same way.

pack73 said...

Mary (1:37AM),

"Free"??? Where do you get the idea that wind power is "free"? Wind power, per kwh produced, is one of the most expensive sources available. wind turbines aren't "free", installation of the wind turbines isn't "free", maintenance isn't "free", and replacement of the units every 5 to 10 years isn't "free".

One "massive" wind turbine could probably supply the electric needs of the population of Ocracoke, which by the way was 769 people as of the 2000 census. One new nuclear unit, which you are not open to, could supply the electric needs of all of northeastern NC.

nodakevin said...

Cats kill more birds that wind turbines. And as for Kitty Hawk I bet the Wright Brothers would be the ones bulding the turbines.

Anonymous said...

"they're as ugly as smokestacks."

Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. If you would take a half a second and consider that wind turbines, unlike smokestacks, don't spew massive amounts of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, mercury, nickel, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, hydrogen chloride, and a whole bunch of other nasty little particulates that choke us every day, you might think twice before comparing wind turbines and smokestacks.


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