The John Locke Foundation, a free-market think tank in North Carolina, opposes the state’s plan to allow offshore wind turbines off the North Carolina coast. Author Jon Sanders says the expensive plan would raise electricity rates and reduce tourism while having no measurable impact on climate change. From the report (emphasis added) :
Costs and Impacts
- “This report shows that the cost of building 8 GW of offshore wind capacity in North Carolina would range from $55.7 billion to $71.5 billion.
- By 2040 electricity rates would increase by 28 percent to 36 percent over their 2020 levels. It would result in an average cost increase of $330 to $425 per year per consumer, reaching as high as $641 and $823 per consumer in 2040.
- New offshore wind energy facilities are highly expensive sources of electricity generation to build, from $137.00 to $164.39 per megawatt-hour (MWh). In contrast, North Carolina’s nuclear plants generate electricity at a small fraction of the cost: $21.71 per MWh. North Carolina’s natural gas plants generate electricity for $35.83 per MWh.
Effects on Tourism
- “A 2016 survey from N.C. State found that North Carolina beach tourists are highly sensitive to viewshed disruption by wind turbines. A majority (54 percent) would not rent a vacation home if turbines were visible at all, and the rest would only do so with discounted rates (and 26 percent wanted completely unrealistic discounts).
- A 2015 BOEM [Bureau of Ocean Engineering Management] study found that wind turbines of 577 feet tall would “dominate” the horizon within 15 nautical miles from shore. Turbines under consideration for offshore North Carolina are up to 1,042 feet tall—80 percent taller. By way of comparison, the tallest building in N.C. is the Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte at 871 feet.
- At 172 square miles, the Wilmington East wind energy area 15 nautical miles off the coast of Bald Head Island would be more than three times the size of the City of Wilmington (53 square miles).”