Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sustainability: wind farming

The News and Observer is reporting that the public will have the opportunity to hear comments on a proposed 11,000 acre wind farm in Beaufort County. The N.C. Utilities Commission, which is reviewing the application for the 80-megawatt project, will hold its first public hearing at the Beaufort County Courthouse at 7 p.m. Nov. 17. If approved and built on schedule, the 49-turbine Pantego Wind Energy Project is expected to be completed late next year. It would probably be the state's first industrial-scale wind farm.

The nation’s largest independent owners of wind-generating facilities in the United States are behind the plan.
Although the energy generated by the wind farm is destined to be shared with 12 other states and the District of Columbia, Beaufort County could see up to $1 million a year, including property tax revenue, lease payments to landowners and salaries to local employees, from the project.

Pantego Wind Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Invenergy, earlier this month filed an application with the N.C. Utilities Commission for permission to build 49 492-foot-tall turbines on 11,000 acres near Terra Ceia and Pantego.

The commission will hold a second hearing Dec. 6 in Raleigh to consider evidence from accountants, engineers and other experts.

The Pantego project was proposed in September by Invenergy, a company that operates more than two dozen wind farms in this country. The Pantego proposal will also require approval from federal environmental regulators and from military installations. The project would have a capacity factor of 25 percent to 36 percent, which means it would generate that portion of its maximum energy capacity.

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