Strategy EI4.3: Disseminate research findings on the feasibility and environmental impacts of small- and large-scale wind power in the Western North Carolina region.
The GroWNC region desires to increase the deployment of price-competitive, clean, and locally-produced renewable energy to give consumers more energy choices while strengthening the energy, economic, and environmental landscape of Western North Carolina. The region also has a moderate wind resource, particularly for utility-scale wind turbines installed at greater heights (80–100 meters). Furthermore, the cost of wind energy production has fallen nearly 80 percent in the past two decades, making this renewable resource competitive with conventional sources of energy.
Small-scale wind power may be used in rural areas and communities to offset a portion of the demand for conventional electricity. Large-scale wind power—while having larger land requirements than conventional electricity generation stations of comparable generating capacity, such as coal- or gas-fired power plants—has a relatively small area of impact specific to the footprint of each turbine; is compatible with other types of land use, such as agricultural; is a zero emission energy source; and does not require the importation of fossil fuels. There are potential concerns about wind power, such as intermittency of electricity generation, noise, and wildlife impacts—bird and bat fatalities—that should be studied prior to implementation.