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.
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.
Wind resources from western Oklahoma and Texas – where the Clean Line and Pattern Energy transmission line projects will source wind – are being marketed at prices around $20-30 per MWh. 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.
The single most-significant difference came from the so-called ‘leading experts’: a hand-selected group of 22 individuals who are among the wind sector’s most knowledgeable and senior leaders. Those experts were, on average, even more optimistic about wind energy cost reduction, expecting LCOE to decline by 27% by 2030 and 48% by 2050 in the median scenario, and by 57% and 66% in the low scenario (Figure 4). The views of this group suggest even greater potential for cost reduction than noted earlier.
Wind farm development in the south has been slow. At one time, the sauntering southern breezes seemed too sluggish to harness for wind farm development. Research, meteorology and advanced wind turbine technology have finally enabled economic wind farm development in the south. Two southern cultural references, mixed with some new science, help explain why wind [...]
The LBNL report tracks trends in cost and performance among other metrics for the wind energy industry nationwide. Just over 5% of all electricity generated in the country comes from wind power. The average installed price for wind energy capacity is down 24% in just five years.
Thanks to NPS’s new sound level mapping, it is fairly clear that a 35 decibel sound limit isn’t just discriminatory to wind farms, it’s likely impossible to achieve under already-existing conditions in significant portions of the country. By enacting sound level regulations that are below existing, ambient sound levels, anti-wind energy activists are obviously attempting to ban wind farms.
Over 7,000 MW of onshore wind potential may exist in Virginia. Additionally, the state has one of the best offshore wind resources in the country. Yet, wind energy remains an untapped resource in Virginia.
Certainly some risk exists with wind turbines; however, the risk from wind farms appears to be less than being struck by lightning and certainly less dangerous than fossil fuels. Still, wind developers have a responsibility to ensure projects are built to meet or exceed safety standards and to benefit the local communities.