As a stakeholder on record as opposed to wind turbines visible from our beach, HBPOA was invited to a meeting in Wilmington, NC with representatives of the Consensus Building Institute. The meeting was for confidential conversations to explore HBPOA perspectives on wind energy development off the coast of the Carolinas. The Consensus Building Institute (CBI) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1993 by practitioners and theory builders in the fields of negotiation and dispute resolution.
- The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has designated three Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) for commercial wind energy leasing off the coast of NC. One area is off Kitty Hawk, the other two are off Brunswick County, roughly south of Holden Beach and off Frying Pan Shoals. The Wilmington East site — which begins about 17.3 miles from Bald Head Island and runs 20.7 miles southeast — spans 133,590 acres. The Wilmington West site (Holden Beach), which is slightly northwest of the eastern one and separated by a shipping lane, begins 11.5 nautical miles from shore and covers 51,595 acres.
- The two Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) off our beach have been grouped with the South Carolina WEAs. South Carolina is proposing a HUGE wind turbine farm off Myrtle Beach, which may be so large it might make the Holden Beach wind turbine farm unviable. There are so many wind turbines planned they are concerned there will not be enough wind for the area off our beach to make the turbines worthwhile. (Not sure what this means for our summer sea breeze)
Discussion with the representatives of Consensus Building Institute included:
- Overview of Holden Beach including island size and population during various times of the year
- Demographics of Holden Beach: permanent residents, “weekend warriors”, rental home owners, seasonal renters and “family-oriented” environment.
- Overview of HBPOA resolution to oppose turbines if they were visible. http://holdenbeachpoa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/HBPOA-Windfarm-Resolution-signed.pdf “Resolution in Opposition to Issuance of Wind Energy Leases Within 30 Nautical Miles of Holden Beach Shores”, September 5, 2015, HBPOA Membership Meeting
- Property Owners’ Concerns – offshore Holden Beach view of wind turbines and impact to tourism, potential negative impact to rentals and property values, potential impact to tourism tax income, and impact to the service economy. Also discussed potential view from Holden Beach of Myrtle Beach wind turbines.
- Discussed differences such as demographics and economic drivers between Holden Beach, other Brunswick County beaches including Bald Head Island, Myrtle Beach, and Kitty Hawk.
- Discussed why Myrtle Beach is supposedly enthusiastic about wind turbines versus concerns of Brunswick County beaches.
- Discussed NCSU study on visible wind turbines and the negative impact it would have on vacation rentals/property values. The report – “The Amenity Costs of Offshore Wind Farms: Evidence From a Choice Experiment” showed that 54 percent of survey participants would not be willing to rent a home if the turbines were visible at all, regardless of their distance from the coast. The issue is particularly resonant for North Carolina because our state is considered to have the best coastal and offshore wind resources along the East Coast.
- Discussed precedent set by agreement with Kitty Hawk to move wind turbines 30 nautical miles offshore. The area currently under development off the Outer Banks was moved out so they would not be visible from shore. Initially, the proposed site in Kitty Hawk was as close as six miles off the beach. But in response to the town’s opposition to any project less than 20 miles from shore, the lease unit area was moved further offshore. The overall size was also decreased to stay 34 miles from the historic Bodie Island Lighthouse, part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
- Discussed the potential for greater wind efficiency further offshore of Holden Beach based upon wind efficiency maps.
- Discussed willingness to meet with federal and state agencies and other local communities to discuss options (YES).
The CBI report summarizing shared concerns by all interviewed stakeholders will be available for review by end of May 2018.
For more information, go to the Wind Energy page under Hot Topics by clicking here.
Thanks to HBPOA Board Member Woody Tyner for representing HBPOA at the meeting!