Some people view them as evironmentally-friendly alternative fuel resources which could help the nation reach energy independence.
Still others view them as ugly structures which mar the landscape and contribute to noise pollution.
No matter the view, industrial wind turbines could become a part of the local scene over the next several years.
A spokesperson for NextEra Energy Resources, a Florida-based company, confirmed recently that a study is currently under way to see if wind turbines would be feasible in Mason County,
Mary Wells of NextEra said the study is in the very early stages and could or could not lead to the placement of wind turbines in Mason County. At least two test meterological towers have been placed locally to test wind resources, Wells said. She said she wasn’t sure of the location of the test towers but did say it takes at least a year of testing before a decision is made on the viability of a site, based on the results.
“It’s very early in the process, ” Wells said. If the sites prove there are enough wind resources for the turbines, then it would take several years before the devices were placed and in operation, she said.
There are currently no commerical wind turbines in Kentucky, Wells said. The company does have sites in nearby West Virginia.
In addition to wind energy, NextEra is also active in solar energy production, according to Wells. She said the company is the largest provider of wind-generated energy in the nation and the largest provider of solar energy in North America. The company has 85 wind farms in 17 states and Canada.
Before any wind turbines are placed in Mason County, the company would have “lots of discussion” with area residents, including public forums to review the process, Wells said. She also said there are environmental studies which would have to be completed before any plan could procede.
The availability of power transmission lines in the area went into the decision to explore wind turbines in Mason County, Wells said, although she said there would have to be a customer interested in purchasing the power to make the plan viable.
“The goal is to use electricity where you are making it,” Wells said.
Wells said some people view the wind turbines, which generally range from 200 to 300 feet tall, as “beautiful and elegent,” but acknowledged that not everyone feels that way.
NextEra began the process in Mason County late last summer and could be approching the end of the test period, a local official said.
For more information on NextEra, visit www.nexteraenergyresources.com.
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