NC - Wind energy lease spots closest to beach eliminated

The new federal review of an area planned for wind energy eliminates spots closest to Brunswick County beaches and splits the remaining site into three pieces. The area considered for leasing – Wilmington East – starts about 15 nautical miles south of Bald Head Island.

The new review incorporates information gleaned since the 2015 federal study but the conclusions are the same – the Wilmington East site has tremendous potential to generate energy at no significant impact to the environment, tourism and fishing industries.

It’s worth noting that the Kitty Hawk wind area lease (the other area in the Carolinas) will net $9-million in revenues to the government, even if wind turbines are not put into function.

Granting the local lease would not be a done deal. There are a host of site-specific studies and permits needed to move forward with construction.

How they look

The updated supplement to the 73-page environmental assessment concludes that impacts to sea life, recreation and tourism would be minor at most.

“The WEAs (wind energy areas) were designed to minimize effects on the viewshed and primary recreational resources; therefore, effects on tourism and recreation, as a result of meteorological tower and buoy placement, also were anticipated to be negligible to minor,” the report stated.

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