I voted in your poll: Do you favor the wind farm proposed for Beaufort County?
I wish to express why I voted “No.”
I am concerned about the location of the Pantego wind-energy project proposed by Chicago-based company, Invenergy, for two reasons: harmful to wildlife, insufficient wind power.
First, I am not against industrial wind facilities, but they must be in locations that will avoid and minimize negative impacts to wildlife. This location is an unsuitable site for industrial wind turbines because of the large population of wintering migratory waterfowl in the area. The site is near the Pungo Unit of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
The Navy wanted to construct an outlying landing field in the same area. The Navy stopped construction because of the waterfowl in the area.
The Pungo Unit was established in 1963 to serve as an inviolate waterfowl sanctuary. This was done to protect the migratory waterfowl that had been coming to the area for hundreds of years. Tens of thousands migratory waterfowl make their winter home in the Pungo Unit from late October through early March every year, with peak numbers well in excess of 100,000. They rest on Pungo Lake and feed in the surrounding farm fields in the area.
The location of the proposed 492-foot-tall, industrial wind turbines – 49 of them – is one of the primary foraging areas for waterfowl, especially for the tundra swans and this foraging area is needed for the tundra swans’ overall health. The tundra swans are very special. The Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula is the major winter home on the East Coast for the tundra swans. They migrate from the Arctic tundra in northern Alaska and northwestern Canada to winter on this peninsula.
Wind turbines at this site will impact the waterfowl negatively, causing displacement, undue stress and death. It is wrong to place an industrial wind facility in this area. There is no industrial wind facility in an environment where large waterfowl like tundra swans and snow geese live.
Second, Invenergy, in the application filed, stated that it expects the Pantego project will generate electricity between 25 percent and 36 percent of the time. That is the absolute minimum for a commercial project. Wind power resource maps show that North Carolina’s best wind for power generation is offshore and in the mountains, not in this inland area. A wind power resource map around Pantego shows that estimated winds are classified as poor or less in the area of the project. An industrial wind facility’s primary need is wind.
Why this location? Money for Invenergy! North Carolina offers an extra tax break to Invenergy. Beaufort County can collect only 20 percent of the property tax value from the land on which this wind project is built. Also, this location is close to the major transmission lines of PJM Interconnection, the largest competitive wholesale electricity market in the world. PJM Interconnection manages the high-voltage electric grid and the wholesale electricity market that serves 13 states and the District of Columbia.
FRANCES T. ARMSTRONG
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