While wind turbines may be a valuable alternative energy source in the Midwest, they don’t seem as popular on the East Coast. But local officials are taking a good look at wind turbines as a viable source of energy in Currituck.
This Tuesday, Currituck’s Planning Board will discuss an amendment to the county’s Unified Development Ordinance that would allow wind turbines to be installed throughout the county.
After reading information about wind power provided by N.C. State University’s Solar Center, the Dare County Board of Commissioners approved a request to install wind turbines. The request was made by the owners of the Outer Banks Brewing Station to help power the restaurant.
Ben Woody, Currituck’s planning director, said the idea is intriguing because of the county’s coastal winds and wealth of farms that could be converted into wind- turbine agribusinesses.
Although national and state statistics may favor wind as a source of energy, Woody said there are a number of issues that need to considered.
For instance, height restrictions would need to be addressed, as would setbacks from neighboring properties, Woody said.
“Caution needs to be taken to prevent damage to a neighboring house or building if a turbine should fall,” he said.
He also said that before an amendment was approved, officials would need to establish the number of allowable turbines on a property and an owner’s responsibility for an abandoned turbine.
Woody said he wants to hear input from residents and any concerns that they may have.
“I’m hoping that people will come to the meeting and share their thoughts,” he said.
N.C. State University’s Solar Center has been researching the benefits of wind power on the East Coast and has concluded that the positives outweigh the negatives. According to information from NSCU, wind turbines do not generate air or water emissions, produce hazardous waste, deplete natural resources or cause environmental damage through extraction and transportation.
The information also stated that the noise level of a turbine is approximately 45 decibels and they rarely harm birds.
NCSU also found that in some areas, communities that have wind turbines actually drew tourists.
By Brenda Kleman
9 November 2007
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