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Offshore Wind

Offshore project looks at North Carolina’s potential

Three demonstration wind turbines will be placed in the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina for the coastal wind pilot project of the University of North Carolina and Duke Energy.

Duke Energy has partnered with the University of North Carolina to develop a coastal wind pilot project along the state’s coast that explores potential for utility-scale projects.

The project builds on a nine-month study conducted by the university for the North Carolina General Assembly, which highlights the state’s capacity to develop utility-scale wind facilities.

Duke Energy and the university will install three demonstration wind turbines in the Pamlico Sound, the largest lagoon along the east coast of the United States. Duke Energy will finance the turbines and their installation.

Both parties claimed that the demonstration turbines may be the first turbines placed in water in the United States. This would provide the university with a valuable opportunity to continue its research on issues relating to wind energy.

Studies that measure and predict the wind resource, quantify ecological impacts and demonstrate turbine performance in tropical storm conditions will help facilitate the utility-scale development of wind energy in North Carolina.

In September, state officials and representatives from the university and Duke Energy held a meeting to get community feedback on the project. Similar meetings will be held over the coming months to obtain comments from the community about the pilot project.

“What we learn from this project will chart the future of offshore wind energy for our state,” said Senator Marc Basnight.

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power companies in the United States and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The company serves approximately 4 million customers in the country.

Duke Energy also has 634 megawatts of onshore wind energy in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming. Another 99 MW is under construction and an additional 251 MW of wind projects are scheduled to begin operation in 2010.

-   Natassia Y. Laforteza

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