RAEFORD – A Florida company wants to know if Hoke and Robeson counties are suitable for a wind farm.
Hoke County commissioners unanimously approved a conditional use permit Tuesday that will let NextEra Energy Resources build a 196-foot tower on a 52-acre tract off N.C. 20 near the Robeson County line. The permit allows the company to have the tower on the land for five years.
NextEra is the largest owner and operator of wind-generating facilities in the country, according to its website. The company has more than 9,200 wind turbines on 100 wind farms in 19 states and four Canadian provinces.
Lisa Sullivan, the director of development for NextEra, said during a public hearing that equipment at different heights on the tower would measure wind speeds to determine the potential for generating energy. After the hearing, she said she it’s too soon to know how big a potential wind farm in the area would be.
“It’s way too early,” she said.
Donald L. Porter, executive director of Raeford-Hoke Economic Development, said local officials have been talking to the company for about three to four months. The company is considering Hoke and Robeson counties for a wind farm, he said.
The company has talked with landowners, who are excited about the potential project, Porter said. Landowners could lease their land and still use most of it, he said.
“I just think it’s a good deal all around,” he said.
Porter said local officials are hopeful that the project will work out.
“The only thing we don’t know is if we have enough wind,” he said.
In other action, commissioners voted unanimously to deny a conditional use permit for a child-care center on Westfield Drive. About 25 residents who live nearby were at the meeting and nine spoke against it at a public hearing.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding