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Wind energy debate blows into Wilmington

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management took public reaction to offshore wind energy coming to our area in a meeting tonight in Wilmington.

There was a packed room of people talking turbines. While some supported the idea, others were not fans.

Two of the three potential sites the bureau has identified on the North Carolina coast are in our area. One seven miles and one 13 miles south of Wilmington.

The economic impact of wind energy was a major topic at the meeting.

"We are currently subsidizing the ones that are running in the Midwest and so forth with federal government money. And I think these areas and operations should be able to stand on their own," said Michael Stuvall, who opposes the proposal.

“Anything new is going to be more expensive. The American Wind Energy Association, for instance on land-based wind, is looking at it being able to function without subsidies within the next 10 years,” said Mac Montgomery, who supports the proposal.

But the more basic question seems to be, "Do area beach residents want to look out and see rolling windmills on our shores?"

"I don't want to have to look at wind turbines when i walk out on my front porch in the morning," said Stuvall.

"What's happened in some communities in Europe where windmills are; they have become a tourist attraction," said Montgomery.

Either way, officials say any decisions are several years off, so only time will tell if the debate is here to stay or will just blow over.

If you are still undecided, you can attend a visualization open house tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at the Wilmington Riverside Hilton.

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