ELIZABETH CITY – North Carolina has had a heavy dose of renewable energy fiascoes over the last decade. From draining taxpayer funds to subsidize solar projects, to mandating renewable use by utilities and jacking up your power bill, and operating and proposed wind farms giving the military cause for concern.
The latest evidence of the problems with the arbitrary push into the world of green energy comes from the Amazon Wind Farm in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties. The huge windmills apparently interfere with military radar facilities while failing to live up to energy generation expectations.
“After operating a little more than a year, the Amazon Wind Farm, North Carolina’s only large-scale wind energy project, continues to cause concerns. The project — located in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties near Elizabeth City — generated just 75 percent of its expected power. Military officials also remain uneasy about the wind farm’s interference with a sophisticated radar facility that provides crucial intelligence for the United States.
Interference with military operations may be the project’s Achilles’ heel — and it may spell trouble for other large wind projects considered for the region. Last year, North Carolina legislative leaders asked the Trump administration to consider shutting down the $400-million, 208-megawatt, 104-turbine project. State lawmakers said the massive turbines would interfere with the U. S. Navy’s Relocatable Over-the-Horizon-Radar facility, or ROTHR, in southern Virginia, bordering North Carolina’s Currituck County.
The sophisticated ROTHR receiver plays a key role in the military’s tracking of aircraft and ships suspected of transporting illegal drugs and other banned substances to the United States. The Navy commissioned a study on the interference which will be released this spring, Katisha Draughn-Fraguada, a public affairs officer for Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, told Carolina Journal.
Nor has local opposition to the project eased. Currituck County Commissioner Paul Beaumont, a former U. S. Navy pilot, recently toured the ROTHR facility. He said ROTHR personnel made it clear to him that the Amazon Wind Farm has degraded signal reception. ROTHR has trouble detecting and identifying targets of interest, including fast moving and semi-submersible watercraft, because of interference from the wind farm.
“In the name of national security, I want wind farms to be removed as a permitted use in Currituck County,” he said, and he will ask fellow commissioners to support the change.”
So with North Carolina proud of its status as the most military friendly state, who is carrying water for the environmentalist Left here? Well, for one, Rep. Bob Steinburg (R-Chowan), who is also running for N.C. Senate, has teamed up with Democrats from northeast North Carolina to consistently stand up for the green special interests, even going so far as questioning the military’s claims that the projects interfere with their operations.
But the N.C. General Assembly Republican leadership has other plans.
“If the Navy detects an adverse impact from the turbines, the parties will “confer with the assistance of a mutually acceptable technical expert” and discuss strategies likely to prevent problems.
The agreement also states that Iberdrola Renewables is not obligated to undertake any measures that it, by its sole discretion, “deems infeasible for any reason or no reason.”
The legislators’ 2017 request to the Trump administration — signed by House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and seven other General Assembly members — was addressed to retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, who became Trump’s secretary of homeland security and then the president’s chief of staff.”
Steinburg is not one of those signatories, and plenty of other milquetoast Republicans on the coast are also going to bat for wind energy projects while they kick and scream about the prospects of offshore drilling.
Read more from Carolina Journal here.