SOUTHPORT (N.C.) – While wind energy has been a hot topic in coastal North Carolina for many years, some residents are now curious about what the turbines could be for them.
Jamie Simmons is a member of the Southeastern Wind Coalition, a group that promotes wind energy. She was one of the few supporters of offshore wind at a Southport town hall meeting on Friday.
She claims that this technology could be used to replace our dependence on fossil fuels.
She stated that the project will produce approximately 2.8 gigawatts of power. This is comparable to two nuclear or fossil fuel plants.
The project would see 120 wind turbines installed off the Brunswick County coast. They are quite large, reaching heights around 800 feet. Wind energy is a viable option as the nation and state move towards reducing carbon footprints. However there are some who are hesitant about having wind farms here.
Advocates for the energy source offered a closer look at what wind turbines could mean to the future of energy in the state. Simmons stated that there are still people who are concerned about this new technology, but it is something that has been around since at least the early 1990s.
It’s a proven technology, it’s just new to us. She said that while it is understandable that there may be questions about the technology, it is a well-established technology.
Resistance from some
Many beaches are reluctant to allow wind farms to be built on their coastlines, fearing that they might block beautiful views of the ocean and hurt tourism. This was a big topic on Friday. However, mock-up photos showed how small these turbines would look, given their location so far offshore. Simmons stated that there would be no impact on views, but this was not the only concern.
Offshore wind energy is one the most environmentally friendly energy sources. However, there are still those who don’t like it.
Brunswick County commissioners voted to ban offshore wind turbines located within 24 miles of the coast. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management leased the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area to be used for wind turbines, about 22 miles off Brunswick County’s coast.
Cain Faircloth is a captain on fishing charters and he worries about what these turbines might mean for his business.
We are concerned about fish because it could push them away from us. What is the impact of the electricity it is producing on fish and their internal components as well as their GPS? He said.
Experts say that any steel being used in the water will have to be evaluated for its environmental impact. Environmentalists are also concerned about bird migrations. However the federal government would be responsible to ensure that this green energy source doesn’t make the environment more dangerous than before.
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