Some, including us, have long felt that Downeast is the “red headed stepchild at the family reunion,” so to speak, in North Carolina politics. Raleigh has for decades catered to the timber companies that have stymied development while shipping our resources, and the profits therefrom, out of state and now in recent years, out of the country. In recent months we have seen the departments of Defense and Agriculture trying to tie up thousands of acres of land in Eastern North Carolina to prevent development to its highest and best uses. Now Downeast is being hit with another “anti-development” scam called “green energy.”
We say “scam” because the fundamental essence of green energy is that it cannot stand on its own economic legs and relies on taxpayer subsidies and then the result of the energy produced by wind mills and solar farms cost the rate payers more than conventional generated energy, thus adding to the cost of doing business and thereby handicapping economic growth and development.
While the proposed Pantego Wind Farm flies under the public’s radar another huge project is now being proposed in Carteret County near Cherry Point Marine Air Station. It’s being called the Mill Pond Facility by its developer, Torch Renewable Energy, LLC. That link will take you to a document related to a November 5, 2013 meeting held in Wilmington (yes, in Wilmington but we don’t know why it was scheduled so far away) but it was covered by the Carteret News-Times. You can read Mike Shutak’s report here.
You will note in the presentation materials that Torch says they have satisfied the concerns of the Marine Corps about the windmills being in the flight paths of planes from Cherry Point Air Station. Reliable sources tell us there is a simple reason Torch can claim it has satisfied the military’s concerns…local Marine commanders have been order to “sit down and shut up” about the proposal. And we suspect the top brass in the Pentagon have also been told by the White House to stand down on anything “green” related.
But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the problem. Page 12 of the report shows the project to be within the FAA’s designated air space of Cherry Point. But the real issue can be seen on Page 18 where part of the project is within the flight space where structures as tall as these windmills would be constructed. Now in fairness to Torch, they say they have “moved about 10 structures” out of the red area of the map on Page 18, but that still leaves the project immediately adjacent to the approach path of jets landing at Cherry Point. Blue area on the map. Gives a new meaning to the cliché “close enough for government work.”
One retired Marine/Navy aviator tells us: “this is the stupidest idea I’ve seen in many years. To put wind turbines right next to a glide path to one of the most critical installations on the east coast defies common sense. On a clear day if everything is working correctly there probably will not typically be a major problem. But let a low ceiling move in and a pilot be hit with equipment malfunction and we could have a disaster on our hands. I once had to make a hard landing that if I had been using this runway at Cherry Point with a low thrust engine problem I would have hit one of these things because I did not have the power to follow the normal approach. Why would we subject our aviators to these risks?”
Indeed. Why would we even be considering such a thing?
Wind and solar generated electricity depend on being on government welfare. They can’t make it work on their own with government subsidies..
John Droz, Jr., a well-known and highly respected expert on wind energy, says that the project does not make sense from many other perspectives. He writes that North Carolina’s public policy related to “renewable energy” is in critical need of review and revision. He points to www.wiseenergy.org for a wealth of documentation, with specific proposals for addressing the issues related to such projects. You can keep abreast of what is happening with Mill Pond and other energy related issues by signing up for the AWED newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our military expert also says that retired military personnel need to step forward and advocate for the aviators’ interests because political correctness from Washington has stifled the local active duty leadership from saying what they actually believe about this project. But he assures us that his contacts at Cherry Point are extremely concerned about the proposal.
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