The eight Republican state legislators from North Carolina – which included Sens. Harry Brown and Norman Sanderson and Reps. George Cleveland and Pat McElraft – who signed on to a recent letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, asking him to permanently close the Desert Wind farm just west of Elizabeth City, may have landed on the wrong side of the issue.

First, the letter, which was the subject of a column penned by Lisa Sorg for N.C. Policy Watch, may have relied on unreliable sources to make its points. Sorg quotes Katharine Kollins, president of the Southeastern Wind Coalition, who states: “The letter was misinformed.” At issue is background information provided by Breitbart News, which is “a primary disseminator of fake new,” and the Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions, which advocates against wind energy, according to Sorg’s reporting. And, second, there is a discernible shift in attitude toward alternative energy among the GOP.

The four elected leaders from Onslow and Carteret counties are apparently standing behind their decisions to sign the letter. But another of the signers, House Speaker Tim Moore, has since “walked back his opposition to the farm,” Sorg notes.

In discussing their opposition to the wind farm – developed by Avangrid, a subsidiary of Iberdola Renewables of Spain – Cleveland and McElraft pointed to the potential for a breach of national security. (Neither Brown nor Sanderson responded to a request for comment.) The facility is near a U.S. radar facility in Virginia and radar systems – depending on the position and proximity of turbines and radar – can be adversely affected. But Iberdola worked with the Pentagon on mitigating any conflicts and the Pentagon approved of the project. The company built fewer turbines than the 150 planned until monitoring shows additional units would be safe. Energy generated by Desert Wind will be used to power an Amazon facility in Virginia.

The local governments of Pasquotank and Perquimans counties are standing firmly behind the project, as is State Rep. Bob Steinburg of Chowan County, a Republican. In a Coastal Review Online article, Steinburg that he would fight any move to shut down the wind farm unless he saw solid evidence that claims in the letter were true. The push to shut down the wind farm, he said,“has very little to do about the military and everything to do with anti-renewables,” Steinburg said.

The new GOP attitude may best be articulated by Charlotte businessman Jay Faison, who was responsible for contributing about $8.6 million to 15 congressional races and electing 13 Republicans, including Sen. Richard Burr. He believes clean energy is good politics. Not only that, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Trump’s pick for energy secretary, comes from the state with the most wind-generated energy in the nation. And then there is the economics. One of the fastest growing professions in the country is wind turbine technician. Of course, wind and solar represent the right thing to do. When Desert Wind broke ground, former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said, “By diversifying our energy resources, we can provide affordable, reliable, and secure sources of energy that are environmentally clean and safe.”

How true.

(16) comments

David Collins

This article is irrelevant because the wind turbines are already in place. Time will tell if they are living up to all the hype. One thing for sure, rates will be going up.

taxpayer

The author needs to review the "facts" presented here. To claim that "... Iberdola worked with the Pentagon on mitigating any conflicts and the Pentagon approved of the project." is either naive or purposely misleading. The Obama administration gave literal orders to the Pentagon to embrace the hardcore environmental agenda, or face serious fiscal consequences. Over the past 8 years, the DOD has repeatedly made stupid policy statements to the effect that "climate change" is the biggest threat we face.
Another myth perpetuated by the author is that the electricity generated by this project will go to Amazon facilities. No matter how many times they claim this, it is simply not true. The truly wacko greenpeace types are even threatening to sue big firms like Amazon for false advertising regarding their "green" credentials. This wind farm has been mentioned in regards to those threats.
To cite a cadre of big government, career politicians who happen to be Republicans does not make for a convincing argument. All this time I thought none of these people could be persuaded to change a core belief, even when there is plenty of money to be had for simply flipping.

Here is a clue for you. The big money in politics does not go to the true believers of a cause. No need to bribe them. The big money goes the those willing to sell out their constituents and explain how their thinking has "evolved" on an issue.

Capt Grumpy

Duke Energy owns Raleigh!
Duke Energy owns lots of coal!
Simple as that!

David Collins

Grumpy, just how does Duke own liberal Raleigh. Can you back up that statement? Their purpose is to keep the lights on and the home fires burning. What would you do, if you could, to get the job done 24/7, 365. I would guess, you have not a clue. Prove me wrong.

Capt Grumpy

Liberal Republican Legislature?????

Don't they think the US Navy can look after themselves?

If Duke is not vested in coal why send their hacks to attack every attempt to establish renewals? Even projects that are already built!

David Collins

Grumpy, you said Raleigh, not the legislature. There is a difference.
Duke Energy is one of the leaders in renewable energy. Probably why their earnings are down.

David Collins

One more thing. The US NAVY is controlled by the administration in office. When they say jump, the response is how high? Got it?

gridlock

Grumpy, the problem is energy storage to cover down time. The wind does not always blow and the sun doesn't always shine. Doesn't matter how many windmills or solar panels are involved... they are not 24/7 operations. I prefer nuclear, but coal is also a valid resource.

Ok, kill coal and switch to fracking natural gas. Ooops... methane is far more harmful than CO2. Windmills are built from petroleum based resins. Solar panels are wicked energy intensive to produce with nasty byproducts.

There is a balance, but believing we can instantly switch is not an option.

If anything, go local. Transmission loss on our current grid is massive. I propose we get modular for the Navy. Nuclear modules on standby for our ships, while providing local power to minimize transmission loss.

David Collins

Gridlock' I have often wondered why we haven't used those GE Package nuclear ship reactors. Never heard of any problems with them. Yeah, they don't have the output of a full fledged plant and they must have cooling water but we have gracious plenty of that. We also have plenty of room to scatter them about. Probably would never know that they were there, unlike wind and solar. Alas, we have what we have and hopefully they will cobble something together that mostly works. Now that NASA's false temp reporting scandal has come to light the global warming folks have been rather quiet. All about money!!!

noitall

Westinghouse is developing small scale nuclear units that can be made in sub assemblies that can be moved from the factory to the job site by rail. I think field testing is underway. Smaller units to serve smaller grids. Costs are very good.

Anyway, in my opinion that's where the future is. Solar can work in certain settings. Wind power is at best silly. Current design is to go higher and higher to get more reliable wind. Wind power is all about government subsidies. Without it there is truly no chance for success based on any metric. Just not there. Same as the dirigible.

gridlock

Completely agree noitall and Francis. My blood pressure explodes when I see all the song and dance about green energy when it gets put right back into a grid with those amount of losses. All goes back to when Tesla set a cow on fire to change the focus from DC to AC power based grid. Interesting media battle for sure.

Def looks like a win-win with smaller nuclear modules to me. Especially now they are able to extract power with spent rods from the large scale ops.

http://www.ted.com/talks/taylor_wilson_my_radical_plan_for_small_nuclear_fission_reactors

Check out this kid at TED. Built a fission reactor in his parents basement. Not sure that was the best idea, but he pulled it off... at 14 years old. Greatly reduces transmission loss.

Hopefully the Navy and Taylor get to work together. With SpaceX and others... jettison the leftovers to a place far, far away. Maybe it'll take out a Russian or Chinese satellite "accidentally" on the way.

David Collins

In today's paper it is reported that Currituck County officials are considering a ban on solar farms, citing loss of agricultural lands, JOBS and wildlife habitat as among the reasons. Hummm, wasn't green energy supposed to create jobs? Is that like you can keep your doctor?

gridlock

Grow corn, don't waste energy to convert to ethanol for a government subsidy, don't ruin all my fuel lines as a result, and feed the world. If you run the numbers, best use involves growing.

K. Jack Schidt

"Currituck County officials are considering a ban on solar farms" because (as Capt G stated) Duke Energy owns Raleigh and sent their thugs down to strong arm the "officials". Same as McElraft and Sanderson "lobbied" our own godforsaken commissioners to endorse offshore drilling even though their constituents, and almost all of the coastal community is against it.

As it stands now we're all gonna be paying Duke to clean all that coal ash up, your rates are going up but it's not from renewables.

David Collins

Bill, if you could, just what would you do with the coal fly ash? Believe Duke is just relocating to other sites. Actually there is commercial value in the fly ash. Never quite understood why an effort to refine it and recover the useful elements was never mounted.

Don't be to tough on the coal generating industry. It is really old technology but effective and cost wise. Used around the world even today. Yeah it pollutes a lot but the industry has been receptive to technology that has significantly reduced the pollution. Heck, seems that everything we do pollutes in some way.

gridlock

The current trend is using it as a thickening agent in concrete. As long as that seals in the toxic... arsenic, lead and selenium. There were major issues with wallboard from China a while back, so I'm still a little on the fence on this one. But it is better than having it in liquid slush ponds that could cause problems with water supplies and rivers as we have seen.

https://www.epa.gov/coalash/frequent-questions-about-beneficial-use-coal-ash

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