Wind Farms Proposed Off Holden Beach
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has designated three areas 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.
BOEM did a visual assessment of what the wind farms would look like from Holden Beach. Click the photo above to see what the Wilmington West wind farm would look like using 200 656′ Vesta turbines as viewed from Holden Beach. You can see the complete visual assessment by clicking here. (It is slow to load) This would be for only the Wilmington West area, the Wilmington East area would be behind it and is not shown in the simulation, but would also be visible.
In addition, each turbine, turbine blade and tower would be lit at night with red FAA warning lights, which would also be visible from shore. That is over 1000 lights with a field of 250 turbines. You can view the simulated nighttime turbine visualization from BOEM here. BOEM’s best practices call for additional lights on turbines located on the periphery and corners of the turbine field as well as any isolated structures such as a meteorological tower/buoy or electrical service platform.
The Town of Kitty Hawk opposed having turbines so close and was successful in getting the nearest turbines pushed further out. The overall size of the of the project was also decreased to stay 34 miles from the Bodie Island Lighthouse. N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Donald van der Vaart has urged a federal agency not to sell wind energy leases within 24 miles of the state’s coast. He asked for the same protections for the Wilmington area as the Kitty Hawk area was granted due to concerns over tourism. He said studies commissioned by New Jersey found significant declines in tourism when energy projects can be seen from shore.
The Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Wind Energy projects was released for public comment January 22, 2015. Click here to view the EA.
The first step in the process would be to construct 394′ meteorologic towers to assess the wind potential. The BOEM did a Visual Assessment of what these towers (not turbines) would look like from shore which you can view here. (This file might take a while to load, visual simulations from Sunset Beach start on page 37.) It shows what the meteorologic towers (not turbines) would look like from different vantage points at different times of the day and night. These towers are shorter than actual turbines.
At the Labor Day meeting HBPOA members voted to oppose a location less than 30 miles off the coast. Click here to see our resolution. To date, the Town of Holden Beach has not taken a position on Wind Farms off our beach. We hope that you will keep informed about energy development along the NC coast and its potential impact on Holden Beach. Thanks to member Phil Primm for keeping this issue in the spotlight.
UPDATE 3-8-16: According to Brian Krembor of BOEM, due to the high number of concerns about the viewshed, the designation of critical habitat for the endangered Right Whale and the wind farm call information for South Carolina, development of the Wilmington East and Wilmington West Wind Energy Areas will be pushed back. These areas will be combined with the call areas for South Carolina and a new joint committee will be formed. This will require a new Environmental Assessment (EA). Brian estimated that these changes will put the Wilmington area development at least a year behind the Kitty Hawk area.
Want More? Here are some recent articles on the issue:
4-4-17 Engineering Issues with NC site http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/04/how-will-offshore-wind-power-get-to-grid/
3-19-17 Wind turbines ‘as big as the Eiffel Tower’ to be tested in Denmark http://e-spaces.eu/?p=83021
2-14-17 Kitty Hawk Moves Forward, Brunswick County Still Stalled: http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170213/shifting-currents-for-proposed-wind-farms-off-nc-coast
7-12-16 VA Offshore Wind Farm Loses DOE Grant: http://pilotonline.com/opinion/editorial/virginian-pilot-editorial-don-t-waste-energy-pursuing-offshore-wind/article_240588e9-8a8c-5f67-a8c6-e713d5541eaa.html
5-6-16 McCrory Advocates Responsible Development: http://deq.nc.gov/blog/2016-05-04/mccrory-administration-advocates-responsible-development-offshore-wind
4-4-16 Wind Farms Would Reduce NC Coastal Rentals: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article69877102.html
4-4-16 NCSU Study on Wind Farm Impacts on Rentals: https://cenrep.ncsu.edu/cenrep/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/LPT_Offshore-Wind.pdf
1-15-16 Bald Head wants turbines further from shore: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20160114/NEWS/160119798/1015/news01?Title=Bald-Head-officials-want-turbines-farther-from-lighthouse
11-25-15 Carolina Beach wants turbines further from shore: http://www.islandgazette.net/news-server9/index.php/news/local-news1/item/3199-carolina-beach-to-consider-opposing-wind-turbines-impacting-ocean-views
11-25-15 More from Carolina Beach – 24 miles offshore: http://www.islandgazette.net/news-server9/index.php/opinion1/editorials/item/3201-editorial-wind-turbine-impacts-a-real-concern-for-area-beaches
10-20-15 NCDEQ wants wind turbines at least 24 miles offshore: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20151019/ARTICLES/151019681/-1/opinion?p=all&tc=pgall
10-8-15 Hundreds of Wind Turbines in 10 years: http://portcitydaily.com/2015/10/08/federal-agency-estimates-wind-turbines-off-bald-head-island-next-ten-years/
10-8-15 Area Residents Concerned: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20151007/ARTICLES/151009777/1017/news0102?p=all&tc=pgall
9-21-15 Feds Green Light Wind Farms off Cape Fear Coast: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20150921/ARTICLES/150929974/1017/news0102?p=all&tc=pgall
9-17-15 Article on Wind Power Moving Ahead: http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/09/offshore-wind-energy-plan-advances/
9-17-15: Wind Energy Moves Ahead in NC: http://www.boem.gov/press09172015/
Kitty Hawk pushes back: http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/02/no-huffing-puffing-wind/
50 Mile buffer on oil/gas to allow for both wind and oil development: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article19152747.html and http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/04/boem-defends-50-mile-buffer/
DENR says keep wind farms farther offshore: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article12873887.html
Commercial and Recreational Fishing information: http://www.boem.gov/Draft-Report-on-Fishing-Best-Management-Practices-and-Mitigation-Measures/
Fishing in NC: Report on stakeholders meeting: http://www.boem.gov/uploadedFiles/FINAL%20Morehead%20City%20NC%20Jan%2022%20Meeting_Minutes.pdf
Click here for a white paper on offshore wind turbine visibility. However, keep in mind that this paper and photos focus on wind farms with far less turbines. The final number of proposed turbines has not been determined yet, but estimates are around 250 turbines per call area.
President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (with links): http://www2.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/clean-power-plan-existing-power-plants