Rotary Club gets update from wind energy skeptic
CHOWAN COUNY – Alan Lennon, who lives next door in Perquimans County, is one of the primary leaders of a citizen revolt against wind energy. That notoriety earned him a shot as guest speaker at the Chowan Rotary Club meeting this week.
The Rotary Club is a well-respected organization that supports various civic activities, locally statewide and nationally and its membership consists of numerous community leaders.
The wind energy matter has been hotly debated recently in Perquimans and Chowan Counties, but not so much in Pasquotank. Originally, the developers of wind energy projects approached the commissioners in these three contiguous counties, with promises of high property tax payments.
At that point, most residents were completely unaware of the pro and cons of these projects. Now, however, the citizens have awakened to the negatives of wind energy, having joined forces to oppose development of wind farm projects.
Among the most active opponents is Alan Lennon. He and other farmers in Perquimans County have spent the time to learn the details of the projects so that they could become fully informed.
Lennon, who stresses that he is not opposed to wind energy, was asked to speak at the Rotary Club to share his knowledgeable on this subject. He presented a slide show that presented the financial implications of this debate. Among his statements was that the original plan for his county had a 550-foot tall wind turbine located within 1250 feet of his house.
Fortunately for him, the property owner that had agreed to lease the property to the wind developer later withdrew his property. The bottom line of the financial implications was that the net tax benefit to Perquimans County turned out to be approximately $350,000. This calls into doubt that the project would bring so much economic benefit that it was worth turning the county upside down. As residents have said before, this project has pitted neighbor against neighbor.
As Lennon put it, a one-penny increase in local property tax rates would generate approximately $250,000, considerably narrowing the economic benefit to the county.
The Rotary Club wanted to hear what Lennon had to say as Chowan County tries to deal with these same issues. The Chowan Commissioners have had the same concerns as Perquimans County with the citizen revolt and the Rotary Club is an important element in the local business response. Approximately 25 Rotarians participated in the Jan. 21 meeting and the questioning was quite brisk.
Several months ago, Lennon was interviewed about his involvement in the wind energy debate. He stated that he was surprised to learn that the elected officials in Perquimans County had violated their responsibility to the citizens they were elected to serve. Therefore, he has decided to run for election to the Board of County Commissioners in Perquimans County.