Proposal passes House committee

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 at 10:23 AM.

An F-15E Strike Eagle drops through the sky on a low-level training mission and encounters — a wind turbine.

With turbine blades reaching within 8 feet of F-15s on missions out of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the proposed Pantego Wind Energy project resulted in a serious risk.

So, in January, Chicago-based Invenergy did away with its original plans to put a 49-turbine wind farm in the path of jets headed to the Dare County Bombing Range.

As renewable energy options like wind farms gain traction in North Carolina, Rep. John Bell, R-Wayne, introduced a wind energy permit bill that would prevent such conflicts from happening again.

“House Bill 484 is dealing with wind turbines being set up in low-level flight routes, interfering with military flight routes in our state,” Bell said. “That’s a really, really big issue in Eastern North Carolina.”

Just interfering with missions over the Dare County Bombing Range alone, Bell said, could have wide-ranging impacts.

“Also, that wind farm would have affected the training capabilities of Cherry Point and also would have affected out-of-state bases — Langley in Virginia and Sumter in South Carolina,” Bell said. “It would have been a big, big hit for Eastern North Carolina.”

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