The Pasquotank County Planning Council will meet next week to consider a permit application for a large-scale wind farm.
The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City reports the council will meet Wednesday to discuss an application from companies involved in the Desert Wind Energy Project. The project was approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission on Tuesday.
About 80 of the project’s 150 wind turbines would go in Pasquotank. The rest would be in neighboring Perquimans County in the northeast corner of the state.
Most of the 20,000 acres in the project would remain as farmland with the 475-foot turbines operating on 2 percent of the land. The project is expected to generate up to 300 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 70,000 homes a year.
Local officials estimate construction of the facilities could create about 300 temporary jobs and pay about $1 million a year to local landowners who are allowing the turbines to be built on their land. The company building and operating the turbines, Iberdrola Renewables, said it expects to employ about two dozen people to manage the wind farm once it is built.
A second wind farm project in the northeast corner of the state has gotten the attention of the U.S. Navy, which operates a major base at nearby Norfolk, Va.
The Navy will review plans for an East Coast base for its Joint Strike Fighter and a possible outlying landing field in 2014. Wind energy company Invenergy has proposed putting at least 100 turbines in Camden and Currituck counties.
“Always of importance to the Navy is to look at the impact of commercial/public projects on our effectiveness to train and respond to national defense requirements,” said Tom Kreidel, public affairs officer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic based in Norfolk. “We will continue to address the Navy’s concerns as we move along in our discussions.”
Invenergy says it does not think the Navy’s concerns will stop the project.
“As is typical for such a wind farm, we’re currently evaluating a range of aviation issues, including radar. We don’t see any particular impediments to the project,” Miller said in a written statement to The Daily Advance. “We’re committed to working with the community and relevant parties, and we are confident our project will move forward.”
Some residents of the two counties hope a wind farm might dissuade the Navy from locating a landing field in the area.
“To say that it would absolutely prevent it, I would not know that, but I would hope that it would be a major deterrent,” said Larry Johnson, a South Mills resident who opposes a landing field.
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