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Start of a better wind ordinance

During the regular June 13th County Commissioners meeting, I became aware of what Chowan’s wind ordinance really means.

Obviously it means text changes, amendments, deletions and same-ol’, same-ol’ political gamesmanship.

So, the first public comment was a letter from Apex Clean Energy that changing the wind ordinance wasn’t necessary. Their same denial was used during the Timbermill CUP hearing that commissioners swallowed hook, line and sinker. (They originally aided in drafting the current wind ordinance commissioners in the day approved.)

More commentary has the Navy considering an order to shut down some Amazon turbines because of low frequency (LF) Infrasound interference. The draft ordinance positively offers to reduce the acceptable sound threshold from 55 dB to 45 dB. (Unfortunately, LF Infrasound travels up to 14 km or nine miles, which still effectively negates improving sound threshold standards.)

More public comments illustrated that the European and U.S. industrialized world has adopted property setbacks to the tune of 10 times the height of a wind turbine. In any case, setback distances are being increased everywhere. Positive changes for the new ordinance, if approved, will measure setbacks from property lines rather than from actual dwelling locations.

A discussion to apply decommissioning escrow funds to approved turbine project issues after CUP approval will be addressed in the next Board of Commissioners’ meeting. Commissioner setback suggestions to be presented for public commentary are still lacking in my opinion because they are not 10 times the turbine height distance used in several European countries.

Modification to an approved wind permit was addressed. Shadow flicker influence was illuminated. Residential RF interference was addressed, as well as the cash bond needed for decommissioning purposes, which will need further investigation before text amendments are voted on.

Because Apex denies about anything negative regarding Big Wind energy an actual Amazon Wind project resident’s testimony refuted Apex’s positive Infrasound/RF scenario presented during the Timbermill CUP hearing or the recent June 13th public commentary. This contrasts our commissioners adopting Big Wind’s cavalier attitude, “any tax money is good”.

Unfortunately, the few tax dollars Chowan County might receive won’t approach the amount of money electric utility consumers will eventually have the honor of paying to host wind turbines in their county.

Commissioners approving a project and not the wind developers themselves bear majority responsibility for the additional millions of dollars for imposed Utility Commission cost requirements.

All-in-all, we have the start of a better wind ordinance. Nevertheless, my comments on the $30 million Utility Commission approved rate increase for NC Dominion Energy customers and their green energy infrastructure improvement construction should be addressed.

My other comment was about the thousands of Canadian geese and tundra swans whose total migration pattern has changed once the Amazon Wind facility was activated. Ultimately, utility customers will have to absorb the millions of dollars any new wind project will cost.

The comprehensive problem areas Big Wind generates means we will need to revise the wind ordinance for many years to come to be fair to everyone in Chowan.

Patrick Flynn is a business owner who lives in Paradise Road.