Elected officials postpone decision on wind energy permit
PASQUOTANK COUNTY — At Monday night’s county commission meeting, the board – except for Commissioners Dixon and Griffin who were absent — voted to table approval of an extension to the Conditional Use Permit sought by Iberdrola Renewables, the Spanish wind energy developer.
The Commissioners heard testimony from local citizens dealing with numerous issues. Among them was why our county had negotiated a value per turbine, which is substantially below the value in other states.
In one case, the citizen mentioned that an inquiry with a community in Ohio, describing several good things about the wind energy in their area except for one thing, the adverse health consequences.
Another citizen spoke about the claims that Iberdrola had all its federal and state permits and would be ready to start construction in 30-60 days.
When asked by one of the Commissioners if the developer had a buyer for the electricity that would be produced from this venture, representative Craig Poff replied that they did not, but that they were in discussions with a buyer. Poff also stated that his company was in the process of meetings that would lead to approval of the project moving forward, and that this should be completed in the next few weeks.
For his part, Poff reiterated that his firm plans to invest $600 million in Pasquotank and Perquimans Counties, with payments in the first year of $750,000, net of tax rebates by the localities. There will be a short term gain in construction activity and jobs, but in the end, most of the employees will come from out of state with a mere handful of long term personnel once construction is complete.
These financial impacts for the county are music to the ears of our county commissioners, who are facing very difficult budget concerns, of late. These facts were acknowledged at the meeting by one of the speakers, but mortgaging the future of our county today, for short-term gain, is not the way to solve our budget problems.
In an article a few months ago, this paper reported that a Perquimans County Commissioner had concluded that the financial impact on this adjacent county from the project would be the equivalent of just one extra cent on the property tax rate.
Is that enough of a benefit for our county to go forward with this project? You decide!!!