SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
North Carolina Wind Energy
New wind turbine technology is a game changer for clean energy opportunities in North Carolina. Taller turbines and longer blades are capable of capturing more wind, which results in generating more electricity and reducing costs. In just five years, wind turbines have greatly evolved and are now more suitable for the Southeast. One modern wind turbine can now power the equivalent of about 600 homes a year!
New wind speed maps released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrate the greatly increased potential for wind turbine development in North Carolina with advanced turbines. As wind turbines increase in height and are able to access better wind speeds, more areas become attractive for wind energy development within North Carolina. The shading on the map above represents new available land for wind development with modern turbines with towers of 360 feet (110 meters) achieving a 35% capacity factor or greater. With these new wind turbines, over 8,200 megawatts (MW) of land-based wind potential currently exist in North Carolina. Developing just one gigawatt of wind energy capacity (1,000 MW) in North Carolina (just 12% of North Carolina’s onshore potential) could power more than 255,500 homes a year!
Based on the Jobs and Economic Development Index model, developed by NREL, developing one gigawatt worth of onshore wind energy capacity in North Carolina could support approximately 4,500 direct, indirect and induced jobs during construction and 166 ongoing operation jobs with a total annual payroll of $8.58 million.
Meanwhile, North Carolina has some of the best offshore wind energy resources in the country. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management may begin leasing tracts offshore for potential wind farm site assessment and planning as soon as next year.
North Carolina is also currently home to at least 28 wind energy-related manufacturing facilities serving the domestic and international wind industry markets. In 2013, there were up to 1,000 direct and indirect jobs provided by the wind industry in North Carolina. Developing land-based wind in the state could greatly add to local economic benefits and create more wind energy-related jobs. A few of the numerous wind energy-related manufacturing facilities in North Carolina include:
- ABB Incorporated (Multiple Locations, NC) manufactures transformers, switch gears, power cables and other components for the electric transmission system.
- American Roller Bearing Company (Hickory, NC) manufactures ball bearings for wind turbines.
- Nucor Steel (Kings Mountain, NC) manufactures steel, used in wind turbine tower manufacturing.
- PPG Industries (Lexington and Shelby, NC) manufactures fiberglass, which is then used to manufacture wind turbine blades.
– See more at: http://blog.cleanenergy.org/2015/04/09/northcarolinawind/#sthash.RrDjEZFA.dpuf