By John Downey
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
N.C. regulators have issued a permit for construction of a proposed 300-megawatt wind farm near Elizabeth City.
The on-shore farm would be built on 20,000 acres in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties in northeastern North Carolina. Atlantic Wind, the subsidiary of Spanish renewable power developer Iberdrola S.A. that will build the farm, expects the project to cost $600 million.
It will consist of 150 wind turbines. Atlantic Wind plans to begin construction in January and hopes to have the farm operating before the end of 2012.
Up to 70,000 homes
Atlantic Wind says it is negotiating with N.C. utilities to sell the power and the renewable-energy credits from the project. In North Carolina, commercial energy producers that are not utilities cannot sell power directly to customers. They must sell the power to a utility for resale to customers.
Because the wind does not blow constantly, Atlantic Wind can only estimate the power that would be produced.
But the company says it should produce 750,000 to 950,000 megawatt-hours annually. That would be enough to provide power for 55,000 to 70,000 homes.
The project was proposed in January. The N.C. Utilities Commission held a public hearing on the proposed project April 5. But the project encountered little controversy.
No evidentiary meeting was held because all parties agreed to forgo cross-examination and allow the commission to decide on certifying the project based on pre-filed testimony.
The commission agreed Tuesday to issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project.