Carolinas become new front in land use battles over wind energy

The Saint ReportCoal and Fossil Fuel, Energy, Environmental Planning, saintblog, Wind Power2 Comments

wind-turbineBy Jay Vincent,
Senior Vice President for Energy, The Saint Consulting Group

Looks like land use politics is quickly following on the heels of wind energy’s movement to the mountains and shores of the southeast.  The Carolinas are the new front in the midst of sometimes heated discussions about wind energy in locations considered sacred by many environmentalists, preservationists and avid nature enthusiasts, particularly in the Appalachians.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports on state initiatives to effectively ban large-scale wind initiatives from the mountains of North Carolina.

The front may be new, but the usual suspects are square in the middle of this battle – anti-coal activists, wildlife advocates, hiking and tourism supporters and economic development boosters.  South Carolina is beginning to focus on wind energy’s potential off its beaches.

The site fights in the southeast, however, take on a particular variety given the region’s traditional reliance on coal-fired electricity, even more so than the country at large.  A political and economic transition to renewables like wind will require an intense lobbying effort at the state capitol and a change of heart in cities and towns that have relied on long-standing energy generation jobs and utilities attached to coal-fired power plants.  Now with the push of green energy jobs, renewable electricity standards and the advent of a cap and trade future, some in the southeast are looking around the corner and jumping on the wind energy wagon and leading by example demonstrating a willingness (literally) and accepting wind in their backyard.

Jay Vincent is senior vice president for energy for The Saint Consulting Group, email and phone 312.970.5770 Ext: 7502

2 Comments on “Carolinas become new front in land use battles over wind energy”

  1. This is interesting because SC has a major issue, more than most other states regarding indigenous renewable resources and the cost of fuel imported to run the coal plants. I can understand their issues with a federally mandadted RPS. Nuclear is on the rise in SC and frankly the best way for them to produce less emissions without a ton of extra money leaving the state to purchase recs. Ridge laws are in effect on the Pacific, similar to SC for on land wind use, so off-shore and bio-mass (which there are already a few plants wihtin the state) are all they can do in regard to the renewbale sector. The southeast could have serious issues economically and socially depending on how new climate action policies are approved.

  2. I am against wind farms because they simple are no where near as efficient as burning fossil fuels or decaying uranium. That being said, I always get a chuckle when I see situations where the very same people who want the government to take over the entire energy industry are the very same people opposed to it whenever it hits too, close to home, like Ted Kennedy and the Kennedy clan opposing the farm off of Nantucket. It tells me that environmentalists are not really serious about so-called global warming or any other ‘crisis’ they come up with on any given day. This kind of thing should be a red flag and warning to us all.

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