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Standard practice on wind energy

In response to the Carteret County News-Times wind energy article appearing in Sunday’s edition, “Energy firm scales down wind farm,” having been involved with over a hundred proposed wind projects throughout North America, what was reported is actually standard practice.

We are dealing with people who are world class marketers. Nothing they say or do is inadvertent or accidental – including apparent “mistakes” – as the entire application is extremely well choreographed.

For example, a favorite tactic of wind developers is to:

Initially propose more turbines than they need.

Then, after community concerns are expressed, which is 100% of the time, they “voluntarily” reduce the number of turbines proposed. This conveys the planned message that they are sensitive to community issues, and are just good old boys trying to work out a reasonable arrangement (but not, on both counts!).

Their real objective is to get their foot into the door. Once that’s been accomplished (by getting relaxed regulations), they will propose a Phase II that will include many more turbines. (In fact at last week’s meeting they referred to their current proposal as the “initial phase.” Remember, in this case they are working with a 7,000+ acre parcel).

I’m passing this on as I know that state and local officials have very little first-hand experience in dealing with these extraordinary salespeople.

They have only one concern: to maximize their profits – and they are within their rights to have that focus.

We need to realize that whatever they say, they have essentially zero real concern for the health and safety of nearby citizens, or for the environment or for our military bases.

These people could easily sell ice to Eskimos, and they see North Carolina as an easy pickings situation – due to our inexperience and weak regulations.

The answer?

Get educated. WiseEnergy.org is a superior one-stop place to go.

See the developer’s words and tactics for what they are, and smile at their ingenuity and audaciousness.

Do not expect that the weak state law (H484) will be any more than a minor bump in the road to these experts.

Pass strong, citizen friendly town and county wind ordinances.

Be prepared to make a good case to the N.C. Public Utility Service that such a development violates several parts of the states’ statutes regarding what electricity sources they are supposed to be approving.

This will take commitment, time and effort – but numerous communities throughout the country have been successful in defending their rights in these matters.

Email me with any questions (aaprjohn@northnet.org).