Construction began this summer on the first utility-scale wind farm in North Carolina, and one of the first in the southeastern U.S., the Amazon Wind Farm US East, powered by Iberdrola Renewables. This exciting development in rural northeastern North Carolina will deliver significant local economic benefits over the life of the project, starting with a huge boost for local companies and workers during construction. It will soon be the largest taxpayer in each of the two counties where it’s located, and combined with landowner lease payments, will inject more than $1.1 million into the local economy each year.
While the Amazon Wind Farm US East isn’t the first wind farm in the South (as many, many news reports incorrectly stated), it certainly is the largest. In 2004, the wind development company Invenergy constructed the Buffalo Mountain wind farm near Oliver Springs, Tennessee. The Tennessee Valley Authority has purchased power from the Buffalo Mountain wind farm for over a decade. The Buffalo Mountain wind farm is made up of 13 wind turbines with a total capacity of 27 megawatts; meanwhile, the new Amazon Wind Farm US East will contain 102 wind turbines with a total capacity of 208 megawatts, with an option to add another 50 turbines (100 megawatts).
A new, peer-reviewed article published in the scientific journal SCIENCE estimates that 3 million hectares of land (that’s 11,583 square miles, or 30,000 square kilometers) have been lost due to oil and gas well pads, storage tanks and associated roads developed in North America since the year 2000. Rangeland and cropland through the heartland have been particularly [...]
Electric utility companies across the south are snapping up wind power contracts – and now a utility in Mississippi may jump on the wind rush bandwagon. South Mississippi Electric Power Association (SMEPA) recently released a request for proposals for up to 250 megawatts of wind power – a first for Mississippi. Depending on wind farm performance levels, 250 MW of wind power could represent about 8-9% of SMEPA’s power sales.
It’s that time of year again: AWEA’s annual WINDPOWER Conference has begun! For this year, the conference has returned to the South. In 2012, this conference was hosted in Atlanta, and this year, we’re reporting from sunny (and windy) Orlando, Florida. Some folks may be wondering why the industry’s largest conference is hosted in the South, since our region only has one operating wind farm; but some of the presentations that have already made make a good case for doing business in the South.
Kentucky is currently home at least nine wind energy-related manufacturing facilities serving the domestic and international wind industry markets. In 2013, there were up to 100 direct and indirect jobs provided by the wind industry in Kentucky. Developing land-based wind in the state could greatly add to local economic benefits and create more wind energy-related jobs.
New wind speeds maps released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrate the greatly increased potential for wind turbine development in Mississippi with advanced turbines. As wind turbines increase in height, Mississippi’s wind energy resources become more available. The shading on the map above represents new available land for wind development with modern turbines with towers of 360 feet (110 meters) achieving a 35% capacity factor or greater. With these new wind turbines, over 43,000 megawatts (MW) of land-based wind potential currently exists in Mississippi. Developing just one gigawatt of wind energy capacity (1,000 MW) in Mississippi (one-forty-third of Mississippi’s potential) could power more than 255,500 homes a year!
Virginia is currently home to at least six wind energy-related manufacturing facilities serving the domestic and international wind industry markets. In 2013, there were up to 500 direct and indirect jobs provided by the wind industry in Virginia. Developing land-based wind in the state could greatly add to local economic benefits and create more wind energy-related jobs.
This is the seventh post in a blog series discussing state-by-state highlights of wind energy throughout the South in the lead up to the WINDPOWER Expo in Orlando, FL, May 18 – 21. See the rest of the series here. New wind turbine technology is a game changer for clean energy opportunities in South Carolina. Taller turbines [...]
Although North Carolina has yet to develop a wind farm, the state is set to take flight with wind power. In 2011, Iberdrola Renewables proposed a 300 megawatt wind farm in northeastern North Carolina. Similarly in 2011, Invenergy also proposed a 300 megawatt project in a similar part of the state, and a separate 80 megawatt project near Pantego. In 2012, another wind project was proposed, but this time in Pamlico County. In 2013, Torch Renewable Energy Incorporated announced a plan to develop a wind farm near Mill Pond. Meanwhile, North Carolina has some of the best offshore wind energy resources in the country. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management may begin leasing tracts offshore for potential wind farm site assessment and planning as soon as next year.