Wind turbines on the horizon for North Carolina's coast

Published: Aug. 13, 2013 at 5:05 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2013 at 5:09 AM EDT
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What wind turbines could look like off the North Carolina Coast.
What wind turbines could look like off the North Carolina Coast.

SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) – Moans and groans steadily rose during a presentation showing what wind turbines could look off the coast of North Carolina.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) completed a visualization study to accurately show how proposed wind turbines would look from the coastline.

The presentation showed what the turbines would look like at different times of the day and in different lighting conditions. BOEM also had a simulation of what the turbines would look like at night.

There were models showing what the turbines would like as far as 20 nautical miles away, but the closest model BOEM had on hand was what the wind turbines would look like from 10 nautical miles away.

One of the biggest complaints that came from the crowd was the missing model showing what the wind turbines would look like from 6 nautical miles away or closer. 6 nautical miles is the closest distance the turbines have been proposed to be.

The second biggest complaint to come from the meeting was the FAA required lighting on the turbines. The red lights would be placed on top of all perimeter turbines and sporadically throughout the middle of the group.

The complaint is not the fact that there are safety lights on the turbines, but that all of the lights will blink on and off at the same time. This lead to one person in the crowd saying, "it looks like Christmas time on the ocean."

Malcolm Morrison, retired from the United States Air Force and resident of Oak Island, says the sustainable energy is needed in our area, but without the visual pollution.

"I think we need to look at how far out can we push these out beyond 20 miles, so we lose the visual pollution, or try to get more efficiency from the wind mills that are not as high, they won't catch as much wind, but try to get other efficiency improvements in there," said Morrison.

The debate then becomes how far is too far offshore is in order to keep energy prices down, and how close is too close to the shore in order to keep view free of wind turbines.

There are two proposed wind turbines that could be used for the project. The smaller of the two is about 475 feet high, while the taller of the two is over 650 feet high.

If you missed Monday's meeting and would like to see what the wind turbines might look like don't worry.

There will be another meeting Wednesday, August 14, at the South Brunswick Islands Center 9400 Ocean Highway 17W Carolina Shores, North Carolina, 28467.

The meeting will last from 5pm-8pm and questions and comments and concerns from residents are welcome.

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