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SUNSET BEACH, NC (WWAY) -– The horizon off some beaches may soon change in Brunswick County, all in the name of renewable energy.

Large wind turbines may be coming our way. Some people say they think its cool. Others say they are eyesores.

The Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has been looking into adding wind turbines off the coast of Brunswick County. But before any decisions are made, planners wanted to consider the visual impact the structures would have, so they did a visual simulation study to show how the turbines will look.

Click here to see pictures and video from the visual simulation study

Some say they like the idea of having the machines off the shore of Sunset Beach.

“I think they are a great idea,” Chris Parillo said. “It’s like not, they’re not obtrusive. They would be like watching sailboats. Anything to save energy and give more power. Wonderful.”

“I don’t think it would be an eyesore or anything,” Charlie McCarthy said. “I thought it looked pretty cool from the pictures, so I think it would be a great idea.”

Others say they think it will ruin the beach’s beauty.

“I don’t like the idea here,” Sunset Beach resident James Grossi said. “I think the water’s too pristine. The place is too pristine to have that, and I do understand how it is going to help everybody, but not here.”

But Alley Warren disagrees.

“I think they would look awesome, my opinion,” Warren said. “It wouldn’t diminish any of the sea’s natural beauty.”

The turbines would be anywhere from 10 to 20 nautical miles out to sea.

Citizens will be able to find out what the development of offshore wind energy might look like from the North Carolina coast at two federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management meetings next week. In addition to being able to view the simulations, the public will also be able to offer comments.

The sessions will be held on: Monday, Aug. 12 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wingate by Wyndham Southport; 1511 North Howe St. and on Wednesday, Aug. 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the South Brunswick Islands Center, 9400 Ocean Highway 17 W.; Carolina Shores.

The NC Energy Office, a division of the NC Department of Commerce and the NC Solar Center at NC State University will attend the meetings and be available to answer questions regarding the process for identifying areas for offshore wind development in the state.

The planning process is designed to identify areas for commercial offshore wind development with the least environment and use conflicts, while also protecting sensitive habitats and resources. In addition, the process seeks to minimize space use conflicts with activities such as military operations, shipping and fishing.

The visual simulation study covers 18 sites along the coast with hypothetical views of a 200 turbine offshore wind project at 10, 15 and 20 nautical miles. A critical piece of this study is the meteorological report, which found that daytime visibility to 10 nautical miles occurs at least 50 percent of the day on 127 days per year, including 25 days during the summer.

Comment on this Story

  • JKR79

    I understand both sides of this. Ultimately I think that this type of technology will become a more viable alternative energy source as the our non-renewable resources become harder to find. Anyone that doesn’t think that wind has a huge potential needs to go out west and have a look around. Even T. Boone Pickens has seen the light when it comes to alternative energy like wind power, even if less so in recent year.

    I think its worth having them and sacrificing some of our viewshed from our beaches if they can provide us with clean, renewable energy, but I don’t understand why we can’t have our cake and eat it to. Why do these have to be 10-20 miles away from shore? Why not 20-30 miles away or more, where they won’t be visible? I’m sure there’s a reason. Anyone care to enlighten me?

  • Vog46

    I am of the opinion that no matter how much oil we frack here that eventually we will need to use other means of generating energy while we continue to look for and use more oil.
    So turbines to me, are a part of a comprehensive energy policy and we should be using them. Are they a permanent solution? I don’t think so but as an interim solution I’m willing to let them be erected off our coast.
    To me, oil can, and was used as a weapon (remember the oil embargo?) in the past and we should NEVER be in that situation again. So, I am all for unfettered oil exploration, expansion of nuclear power, and fracking (so long as environmental concerns are addressed). But I also know that wind, geothermal, solar and other sources should also be used – subsidized or not. Oil was once used as weapon against our nation so to me energy is a national security concern.
    If we can monitor and record phone calls in the interest of national security we damn sure should build turbines.


  • ChefnSurf

    * Not sure why you replied to me instead of making your post a stand-alone. My focus was on why not just use a virtual vs. a physical model and nothing else.

    * The Ginsu knife is spelled with an “S” and not a “Z” so it would have to be “ginsued”. :-)

    * With a little research, I’m pretty sure they could find a way to deter birds from flying into the blades. (Why so many eagles vs. other bird types?)

    * They’re essentially all about getting money to politicians: Nah, that’s just crazy talk. They’re really all about finding effective alternative sources of energy. As to whether wind turns out to be one of them remains to be seen.

    * Do yourself a favor and stop looking for conspiracies behind every door. If we start thinking everything’s a conspiracy, we won’t be doing anything. Sometimes things are simply what they appear to be.


  • Ireckon

    “Deter the birds from flying into the blades”! Heck we can’t even keep birds away from airports and gold courses as it is!

  • Birds

    If you are so concerned about birds being killed by wind turbines you should look at what kills the most birds every year. More birds are killed by cats every year. The numbers are not even close. 400 million birds are killed by cats while 440,000 are killed by wind turbines. By your logic we should ban cats! We should also ban cars and buildings!

  • beach guy

    First of all sorry did not mean to reply to you
    secondly hooked on phonics worked for me
    thirdly the reason eagles and other raptors are getting sliced and diced is that they are downward looking birds much the same as sea birds in search of fish/prey
    All you have to do is follow the money and you will see why the government is corrupt in promoting any type of energy exploitation
    If the energy companies think this will be a viable source of energy why do they need my tax dollar?
    As far as being a conspiracy theorist is concerned maybe you need to do yourself a favor and look past what you have been told my the mass media in lockstep with the administration. The time of Edward R. Murrow and David Brinkley have been long forgotten by the America we now live in. The journalists Are supposed to be the peoples watch dogs not the government’s lapdogs
    I hope none of my comments have offended you we clearly have different opinions as to the purpose and scope of government.
    I hope you have a great Day!
    Beach Guy

  • ChefnSurf

    I just think that all energy forms should be explored. Period.

    Do I trust politicians? Not so much.

    Back at ya on having a great day!

  • Guest-o-matic

    An 6′-0″ person standing at the water’s edge has a visual distance of ~3.2 miles to the horizon (on a clear day, not considering refraction). That distance increases greatly based on the height of the observer and/or the object being viewed. A general formula of using about 1.32 miles times the square root of the eye-height in feet above sea level, equals the distance in statute miles.

    Consider a 200 ft tall tower and a 6′-0″ visual height. You would see the top of the tower at ~20 miles

  • tigercat

    Thank god for the cats- if not for them we would be overrun by
    billions of more birds.
    As for seeing fields of turbines off shore I dont think you can see objects 10 to 20 miles out in the ocean from the shoreline.
    Maybe the turbines would cut down on the number of seaguls so they
    wouldnt have to shoot them at the local landfill and other placessurf and turf

  • GuestCatLady

    But cats also kill vermin. My neighbors insist that my cats stay indoors. I laughed as one found a rat in their garage the next month. Never saw rats around here before… wonder why…?

  • Mr.T

    You sir are far too intelligent to mingle with this bunch. They are much like the downward looking birds, always running into something!
    I would invite to move up a few notches and get in with the weed smoker!

  • Moish

    Never let science get in your way!

  • RSimmons

    When I was out in California during the 80’s there was this mountain ridge that had about a dozen of these turbines. It was great place to smoke weed and to watch and listen to the gentle whoosh of the blades passing 30′ above while reciting Poe’s short story “The Pit and the Pendulum”

  • ChefnSurf

    Then everyone can see it and in the most energy and cost efficient way possible; by never even having to leave the house. Seems like a no-brainer.

  • beach guy

    Are they going to show the sea birds that are going to get ginzued by the blades on these inefficient monstrosities? If you look into the damage these things have caused out west to the eagle population you would look at them very differently indeed.
    These things are not to promote environmental health just to make you think they are so some private corporation can get tax money to donate back to the politicians AKA Solindra

  • Ireckon

    Won’t have to look offshore for the turbines. Will be on the beaches after a cat 4/5 hurricane passes through!

  • Guest22

    Maybe they can put pictures of Obama at the Solandra plant as another green idea closes it’s doors.

  • Guest123

    I don’t know about anyone else but I can’t stand on the beach and see 10-20 miles away ! lol How can they ruin anyone’s view?

  • Sunset Beach Girl

    Check this out, before you render an opinion… I for one, go to Sunset Beach for the pristine beach, view, and to get awy from it all!!! Unplug and Unwind. (oppps I made a pun!!). That’s the reason I bought there and that is the reason I live there. It would be catastrophic to the enviroment and to those of us that do not want to view/see/deal with/worry about/pay for/lose our tranquility/destroy – the beauty of Sunset Beach.


  • Guest-o-matic

    That will easily resolve your dilemma!

  • Guest notfernothing

    I sure do hate it when something, it comes messing with my private world. Who the heck are them folks that’s thinking I got to do some a them things for other folks? I got enough money to live where some a them other folks don’t an they should be respecting that because that make’s me a darn lot better them them that’s for sure! These other folks, they just aint got no respect for there betters!

    So now us better folks is starting a thing called NIMBY and that means not in my back yard! Sure, we want all a them energy things just like them other folks but theres no way we should have to view or see or deal or even worry about them an we sure don’t want us to pay for them when them other folks can do the paying! We got our tranquility an them folks who aint as good as us probably aint got any tranquility anyways cause they got to worry about money all a the time an we don’t an that’s why only us better folks got tranquility an now they want to take ours cause they aint got any so then none a us will have any!

    Some a them folks even have the big enough nerve to be saying that us folks is what there calling elitisists and that aint fair just because were better than them!

    Interesting thing is were not even real sure if them windmills is gonna even work real well but that don’t matter much cause even if there working real good we still aint gonna want them to be where us better folks got to look at them an that’s even if there far away and look real tiny cause were still gonna know them things is out there even if were not really seeing them just knowing in your mind sure is tranquil robbing an stealing is stealing!

    An if your thinking maybe I aint being right, even that real important family of Kennedys up there in Massachusetts is NIMBYS an they don’t want to be looking at stuff that steals there god given right to there tranquility up there no more than down here an one a them already got to be president a this whole country so that proves it!

  • Don’t you mean “Danger Will ROBINSON?

  • anne

    Just how many of the people complaining are the same people who have built houses on the beach and blocked the views of others? Just saying!

  • KCandSunshine13

    Beauty and aesthetics aside, who pays for the project and who benefits from project? Getting a government grant where all tax payers pay into the kitty to help fund the project so that only a few coastal home-owners benefit is ridiculous. They are certainly not going to send this miniscule amount of electricity to the Mid-West for farmers there. What is the ROI (as if there ever would be a return on the initial investment)? I foresee increased costs in other areas to help defray the on-going O&M costs (more imaginary fees on your electric bills). As we’ve seen in the past, all studies will understate the operating & maintenance costs, just to get the deal approved and then drop the bomb on the end user, e.g. – Obamacare). If it is such a great idea, then the utility companies and private industries can do it without government funding (aka our tax dollars). I would want guarantees that these things will not become rusting hulks on the horizon; therefore, even more money would have to be set aside to fund a remediation when the realization finally hits home that this is not making any money at all. They will just become a clean energy tax write-off and good “see we’re earth-friendly” PR for some corporation.

  • liberdee

    I’ve read many of your various comments on subjects and there is no way you’re as stupid as you sound. You’re punctuation is great and you seem to be able to spell the most difficult words properly. You’re not fooling me! You just want people to think you’re an idiot but I think you’re just bored. You also like George Carlin, he made up NIMBY.

  • Guest notfernothing

    Wishing it weren’t true but I’m probly even dumber than I’m sounding. Sure am glad that I’m not as dumb as I’m looking though, cause then I cant figure out this here computer. Still aint sure why them keys they don’t put in alphabet order.

    Got me one a them punctuation machines an that’s helping some but it aint helping with what they call them run on forever sentences. Even got me one a them big word spellers an next I’m getting me one a them medium word spellers, so there!

    I’m hoping that none a that stuff obfuscates the message I’m trying to convey. Yep, I’m sometimes using that sarcasticism but that don’t mean that the point that maybe I’m trying to be driving all the way home shouldn’t be driving all the way to there an put to bed!

    (Seems to me that George guy you was talking about was real good with words. He must a been one a them smart folks. I’m thinking he weren’t too happy that all a them better folks should be getting all a the good stuff without them kicking in some help for the rest of us folks probly either)


  • Guest Reply Redux

    I’d much rather see these Turbines on the Brine, then the view from the car window of Dawson St. heading towards Oleander coming off the Cape Fear Bridge…….

  • Guest 4253

    Sometimes, because of shifting in the time warp continuum, the past becomes the present and the present becomes just something that’s given out at a birthday party.

    All of that is possible when you’re “Lost in Space”.


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