North Carolina’s First Wind Farm Takes Flight in Elizabeth City

A steady breeze that ruffled plants growing in the soybean field was a good sign, as North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory joined business and community leaders to break ground on the state’s first wind power project, July 14, in Elizabeth City.

Spanning farm fields in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties, the Amazon Wind Farm US East, operated by Iberdrola Renewables at Desert Wind, will be the first utility-scale wind farm in North Carolina and one of the first in the southeastern United States. The first phase, a 208 megawatt (MW) project, will feature 104 wind turbines. The facility, if fully built out, could deploy 150 wind turbines that would generate 300 MW of power at full capacity and provide millions of dollars in tax and landowner revenue for decades.

More than 100 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony, and guests were in a convivial mood. The evening prior, Amazon Web Services, Inc., announced it had contracted with Iberdrola Renewables to buy the energy to supply its current and future AWS Cloud data centers.

In addition to generating wind energy, the project will generate tax dollars for Pasquotank and Perquimans counties. The total of tax revenues and payments to landowners for the first phase of the project will inject more than $1.1 million into the local economy each year. About 250 construction jobs will support the 18-month building period, and 10 permanent jobs will be based at the wind farm when it is in full operation, anticipated during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Location

The wind farm will be located in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties, in a rural section of northeastern North Carolina near Elizabeth City and Hertford, on approximately 22,000 acres leased from more than 60 local landowners.

Timeline

Construction of the first phase is slated to begin in July 2015, and it is expected that the project will reach commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Economic Benefits

TAXES:  The project’s first phase will pay $520,000 in the first year of operation and will increase each year.

LANDOWNER PAYMENTS:  In total, the project’s first phase will pay $624,000 and will increase each year. Landowner payments and taxes for this phase of the project will inject more than $1.1 million into the local economy each year.

CONSTRUCTION JOBS:  Approximately 250 construction jobs over the roughly 18-month construction period for the first phase.

PERMANENT JOBS:  Approximately 10 on-site jobs in operations and maintenance of the facility

Technology

Turbines will be 2.0 MW Gamesa G114 models

  • 114 meter rotor diameter = 374 feet
  • 55.5 meter blade = 182 feet
  • 93 meter tower = 305 feet
  • With a blade pointing straight up, total height is 492 feet
  • Turbine delivery and erection is scheduled for next year

The Players

Iberdrola Renewables, LLC is a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA and the U.S. renewable energy division of parent company IBERDROLA, S.A., an energy pioneer with the largest renewable asset base of any company in the world. Iberdrola Renewables, LLC is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and has more than $10 billion of operating assets totaling more than 6,000 MW of owned and controlled wind and solar generation in the U.S.

Amazon Web Services, Inc., launched in 2006, offers a robust fully featured technology infrastructures platform in the cloud comprised of a broad set of computer, storage, database, analytics, application and deployment services from data center locations in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Ireland, Japan and Singapore. More than a million customers, including fast-growing startups, large enterprises and government agencies across 190 countries, rely on AWS services to innovate quickly, lower IT costs and scale applications globally.

For more information, read the official press release from July 16, 2015