Wind is an everyday occurrence on the Outer Banks, and the winds can play a large role in daily activities. Storms come and go, surf rises and falls, water temperature adjusts, all with the help of the wind, and these days energy bills can be affected as well.
The OBX has recently been the focus of an effort to put large energy generating wind turbines in the Sound, and potentially in the Atlantic. These efforts have not been approved yet, but smaller wind turbines are being erected.
The Outer Banks Brewing Station has had a wind turbine for a few years, and just recently, a 60-foot-high wind turbine was built near the visitor center at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Construction of the turbine was completed in late May and park officials anticipate it will begin generating electricity in June.
The turbine will be connected to the power grid via Dominion North Carolina Power, and park officials anticipate its power generation will offset most of the cost of supplying the visitor center, which includes an exhibit hall, an auditorium and park offices.
Park staff conducted studies with a mobile lift to assess any negative visual impact the turbine might have, and the staff and biologists also conducted a year-long study to ensure the turbine would not have any negative impact on coastal or migratory birds. The monopole-style structure, which doesn’t require guy wires, was chosen to reduce effects on birds in flight. The turbine also includes an outdoor exhibits that explains its operation to park visitors.