- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

The cost of wind farms

Regarding the July 14 news article “Amazon backs N.C.’s 1st large wind farm”: The recent groundbreaking of the Amazon Wind Farm in northeastern North Carolina is good news for my colleagues in the renewable energy community.

The 208-megawatt wind farm will cover 34 square miles in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties at a cost of $400 million. Its energy will power Amazon data centers in Virginia and Ohio. The project will become the largest taxpayer in both of these counties and will employ 10 full-time employees.

North Carolina has become attractive to solar and wind developers because of its generous financial incentives. While our state hands out a 35 percent investment tax credit, we have to ask, “What are the consequences for North Carolina?”

For 2016, the state will have $140 million less to do business while receiving no energy from the wind farm. This reduction in state income falls particularly hard on our teachers, universities, community colleges and state employees. In terms of teacher pay, North Carolina ranks near the bottom. Low teacher salaries also affect our ability to attract industry.

This is a critical problem that Gov. Pat McCrory is trying to address. Let’s take care of our people at home before we give away money (through tax credits) we don’t have.

Herbert M. Eckerlin

Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, N.C. State

Raleigh