Tests showed that wind speeds in Hoke County aren’t high enough to support a wind farm, a county official said.
Officials from Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources called earlier this year with results from a 196-foot tower in southern Hoke County near Lumber Bridge, said Don Porter, the executive director of Raeford-Hoke Economic Development.
“The data showed that there wasn’t enough wind to make it feasible for them to do at this time,” he said.
The landowners in Hoke County were excited about the possibility of hosting a wind farm, Porter said.
“I thought it was a good opportunity for us,” he said.
The Hoke County Board of Commissioners approved a conditional use permit in September that let NextEra build the tower on 52 acres off N.C. 20 near the Robeson County line.
“We were hopeful,” Porter said. “They were definitely serious about what they were doing.”
The good news is that as technology changes, a wind farm might be feasible in the future, according to Porter. Changes over the past five to 10 years have allowed wind turbines to create more energy with less resources.
“Hopefully at some time in the future as technology changes, they’ll be able to come back,” he said.
Porter said he thinks the county developed a good relationship with NextEra through the process.
“They felt good about working with us,” he said.
Wind farms create power when turbine blades turn and spin shafts connected to generators.
NextEra is the largest generator of wind and solar power in North America, according to its website. The company has more than 100 wind projects in 19 states and Canada that are capable of generating enough electricity to power about 3.4million homes.
Energy experts believe North Carolina has enough wind resources to generate a large percentage of the state’s total electricity, but the highest winds are in the mountains and near the coast.
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