The South’s newest wind farm, Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East, in North Carolina is a perfect example of the impact a wind farm can make on a local, rural economy. The project generated approximately 250 construction jobs and 14 permanent jobs, but these statistics just touch the surface when it comes to economic activity. The wind farm is a $400 million capital investment in Perquimans and Pasquotank Counties, and the project is expected to generate $250,000 in property tax revenues in just 2017 alone. The wind developer, Avangrid (formally Iberdrola), is now the largest taxpayer in the two counties the turbines are located in. The combination of landowner payments and local taxes add up to $1.1 million injected into the local economy a year!
This week Atlanta was one of 15 cities to celebrate the annual National Women in Solar Energy week. Organized by the non-profit, Women In Solar Energy (WISE), #nationWISE is a multi-city roundtable discussion that focuses on the development of women in the solar industry. Attendees in Atlanta represented a broad range of solar professions including non-profits, utilities, finance, [...]
A new market report by the American Wind Energy Association shows that 2016 was a record breaker for the wind industry. And signs are pointing to an equally aggressive 2017. With a total of 8,203 MW of wind energy capacity commissioned during the year, the majority of projects were completed in the last three months. The United States now contains more than 82,000 megawatts of wind power. That’s enough power for the equivalent of roughly 25 million homes.
This wind farm is a monumental step not just for North Carolina, but for the entire Southeast. There is only one other wind farm in the south, Invenergy’s Buffalo Mountain Wind Energy Center in Tennessee. With so few wind farms operating in the region, wind power remains a fairly unfamiliar resource. That makes it easier for anti-wind energy activists to spread misinformation and nonsense. But as people begin to see the positive effects of wind power in their community, it becomes obvious that wind power is a winner. Studies suggests that states with more wind farms boast more public support for wind energy.As more wind farms are developed throughout the South, public acceptance will continue to increase.
In 2016, Floridians for Solar Choice, a coalition that SACE is a founding member of, made history with two major solar victories. First, Florida voters overwhelming approved pro-solar Amendment 4 during the 2016 August primary, which will remove a property tax on solar installations. In November, the coalition defeated anti-solar Amendment 1, a deceptive ballot amendment created and funded by the monopoly utilities. Despite being severely underfunded and understaffed, the Solar Choice campaign went toe to toe against a $26 million utility-backed campaign and won! The major key to success? People Power! The Solar Choice coalition is composed of thousands of dedicated volunteers from the Panhandle all the way down to the Keys that were willing to go above and beyond to educate Florida voters. While we can’t feature the entire solar army of volunteers, below are 10 superstar volunteers behind these Florida solar victories…
The project is estimated to cost a mere 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. That’s comparable to the price of operating a modern natural gas power plant, making wind not only cost-effective but a guaranteed low-cost electricity source for decades in the future. Because there is no fuel cost associated with wind energy, utilities can secure long-term contracts (approximately 20-25 years) and lock in prices that protect their customers from price spikes due to volatility in fossil fuel costs. TVA could also receive additional benefits by acting as a pass-through transmission provider for other utilities purchasing wind energy, and earn additional revenue. For the TVA system, the project is estimated to actually reduce overall costs by about $1.44 per megawatt hour.
The Amazon Wind Farm is the first large-scale wind farm in North Carolina, and is located predominately in farm land. The wind developer, Avagrid, has gone through more than six years of federal, state, and local permitting, review, studies and construction. In an eleventh-hour attempt to kill the project, a small group of anti-wind power North Carolina legislators claim even more red tape is necessary, because they claim a wind farm could interfere with a radar installation in Virginia.
This is the first blog in a series, where SACE staff will evaluate college and university campuses investing in clean energy and sustainable practices. To read other posts in the series, go here. In just a few years, the University of Georgia (UGA) has made significant sustainability strides. Before I dive in, maybe it’s [...]
Overall, wind energy does not cause population level threats to birds and accounts for an extremely small percentage of unnatural avian mortality. A study in Energy Policy, found that fossil-fueled power plants, on a per unit of energy basis, are estimated to kill 17 times more birds than wind energy. So for every megawatt hour of electricity from a wind farm that replaces fossil fuels, seventeen times as many birds may be saved.
The time to contract for low cost wind power is now. The largest renewable energy project in the making is a proposed power line that will bring huge amounts of cheap, wind energy to the South, but electric companies must act quickly.