Majority of Pasquotank commissioners embrace wind energy


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Four million pounds of concrete for each turbine???

PASQUOTANK COUNTY — At Monday’s County Commission meeting, elected officials voted to extend the time limit for commencement of construction. They granted the developer, Iberdrola, two additional weeks to begin construction of the Desert Wind project on the border of Pasquotank County and Perquimans County.

The project contemplates approximately 150 wind turbines that will be 492 feet tall — from ground to blade tip. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-July on 20,000 acres. Each wind turbine will require four million pounds of concrete, and No! That huge figure is not a typographical error!

Can you imagine the size of the hole that will be needed for this? Although the farmers will technically be able to work around the turbines, this concrete will be just below the surface with just three feet of soil between the concrete and the surface upon which the farmers will be planting crops.

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Officials point out that Iberdrola will become the largest payer of property taxes in the entire county. This is in addition to the $5,000 per turbine that the county will receive plus the sales taxes on all that concrete and related materials.

That is the good news. The bad news is that all of us are paying for this with our tax dollars that the Federal Government used to subsidize this project and others. Plus, the turbines stop turning when the wind stops blowing and electricity is needed to start the turbine.

At the meeting, speakers presented their points of view, both pro and con. Earlier this year, county commissioners were invited to attend a wind energy education forum so that they could learn about the negative side of the issue, possibly weighing these facts against claims and statements made by Iberdrola representatives.

The event was moderated by noted physicist John Droz of Morehead City, but none of the commissioners attended. Yes, they voted for project anyway with absolutely no information upon which to form an opinion. Surprised???

The developer told the commissioners two weeks ago, that no contract had been signed with an existing utility to purchase the power generated by this project. The developer representative, Craig Poff, has assured the Commissioners that they are negotiating with a purchaser, but no agreement has been reached.

Poff also claimed that all licenses and permits are in hand. But, when asked for these documents, Poff refused — stating that they would be provided before construction begins, in accordance with the terms of the Conditional Use Permit.

Voting for the short-term extension were Commissioners Winslow, Dixon, Sterritt, Perry and Parker. Voting against were Commissioners Meads and Griffin. Those in favor made statements and asked questions that made it clear that they had no knowledge of this matter and were voting on emotion alone.

Earlier in the day at the budget meeting, Commissioner Meads reported that he had secured a quote from a firm relative to the cleaning of the library. The library employs two full time staffers for this purpose. Meads believed that this could be outsourced at a cost of approximately $10,000 compared with the fixed cost of $50,000 in salaries plus benefits that the county is now paying.

It was stated that outsourcing had been tried before without success, so this proposal was shot down. If they can’t or won’t outsource janitorial services, how much chance do we have for reducing our cost of government? You know the answer!!!