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Duke Energy has scrapped plans to build a three turbine pilot wind farm on the Pamlico Sound.   They cited high costs as the main reason.  The price of pilot program was estimated to be $35 Million but further study revealed it to be more in the neighborhood of $145 Million.  Between the high cost and the difficulty in navigating the shallow waters of the Sound, Duke decided to pull out of the project, leaving UNC to seek a new partner in the endeavor or shut down the project.

Duke, however, is not abandoning the idea of wind turbines in North Carolina waters.  They believe that a larger offshore wind farm will generate the economies of scale needed to make such an project viable.  They plan to partner with UNC to study the matter.  They will kick in $405,000 to aid with future study.  How much will we have to kick in?  This whole project is just more of our money left blowing in the wind.  These kinds of studies ought to be undertaken solely by private companies with investor money, not by universities financed with taxpayer money.

A company in Charlottesville, VA is reported to be looking at North Carolina’s coastal waters with the same idea in mind.  The StarNews Oline is reporting that Apex Wind Energy wants to lease 213 miles of ocean near Wilmington to build a massive wind farm.  According to StarNews, “Apex piggybacked on [UNC’s] research with its own study, which determined four areas along the coast that had strong commercial wind-farm potential.”  Glad our tax dollars could be of help.

If any of these projects ever get going, should we watch our mailboxes for thank-you card?  Better yet, how about a rebate?

If you are interested in reading a great book on the subject of market entrepreneurs versus political entrepreneurs, check out Burton Folsom’s book, Myth of the Robber Barons. You’ll learn that government backed business ventures invariably lead to bad results including waste, fraud and stagnation.

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