One company said it wants to help Baldwin County “go green” by adding wind turbines as energy sources.
If you have driven on the Causeway since December, you’ve probably seen a new structure in the sky at The Original Oyster House.
Co-owner David Dekle said the Oyster House has been “going green” for some time now. He said purchasing this wind turbine was one of the best investments it has ever made, and it’s paying off.
“It’s a 30 percent tax credit on green energy. It’s 30 percent right off whatever it costs us to put this windmill up. It’s a pretty good penny. They give you 30 percent off right off the bill,” said Dekle.
Now, a West Virginia company wants to build wind farms in Baldwin County on a much larger scale.
The wind turbine at The Original Oyster House is 55 feet tall. APEX Wind Energy wants to build turbines 12 times their size, over 520 tall. This has some Baldwin County officials concerned.
Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey does not oppose alternative energy. He said, however, it would have a significant impact on the landscape and an insignificant impact on the economy.
“They’ll be between 400 and 500 feet tall, taller than any condominium we have at the beach. You’ll be able to see them from the Causeway,” said Dorsey. “It’s not like make wind turbines here. We don’t have contractors in Baldwin County that are built 500 foot wind turbines. We’re not buying the components locally. They’re not hiring labor locally. It only takes one or two people to maintain them. So it doesn’t generate any economy in Baldwin County.”
APEX Wind Energy spokesperson Wade Barnes said the six to nine month construction phase would create up to 150 jobs and up to 12 long term jobs afterward.
Dorsey, on the other hand, said he sees the turbines being a threat to migratory birds in the area and some complain about the noise they will make.
Thomas Damson of Mobile disagrees. A proposed meteorological tower would be built on his land. He said from visiting other APEX wind farms, he’s impressed and fully supports it.
“I stood beside one, only thing I could hear was some fans running that would cool the computer systems because they’re computerized. The blades were turning. I didn’t hear anything,” said Damson.
According to Robert Harris of Gulf Coast Green Power, these types of turbines, including the one he installed at the Oyster House, can withstand winds over 140 miles per hour.
And what if we have those high winds?
“I don’t know what would happen in a 100 mile per hour winds. I guess it could power the city,” said Dekle.
FOX10 News will continue to ask who will benefit from the turbines.
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