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Avangrid unmoved by North Carolina claims

UNITED STATES: Iberdrola's US subsidiary Avangrid Renewables has brushed aside efforts by politicians in North Carolina, who have reportedly asked the incoming Trump administration to stop the state's first wind project, despite the turbines having already been installed.

The Amazon Wind Farm US East project will be North Carolina's first (pic: Avangrid Renewables/Twitter)
The Amazon Wind Farm US East project will be North Carolina's first (pic: Avangrid Renewables/Twitter)

Reports surfaced in news agency, Associated Press (AP), last week, of a letter sent to the President-elect by legislators in North Carolina, claiming the 208MW Amazon Wind Farm US East project would interfere with the radar systems of a nearby military base.

Lawmakers claimed the project was signed off by the Pentagon because of a "political correctness focus" by President Obama and the "promotion of unscientific and nonsensical 'All of the Above' energy sources (and renewable energy in particular) at essentially any cost," AP reported the letter as saying.

The project, developed by Avangrid but bought by online retailer Amazon in July 2015, comprises 104 Gamesa G114-2MW turbines. It will be the state's first wind project.

Electricity from the project will be used to power Amazon Web Service's data centres. A spokesman for Avangrid said the project is "very close to full commercial operation".

"The Department of Defense (DoD) already has a detailed review process for any potential wind farm siting, and it works as intended. We worked cooperatively with the DoD for years to ensure the compatibility of the wind farm with DoD facilities in the region," the Avangrid spokesman said.

"If the wind farm threatened any military readiness or capabilities, they wouldn't have cleared us to build, and we can't build without their blessing.

"In agreeing to the 104 turbine locations, DoD has explicitly expressed that the wind farm will have no impact whatsoever on its capabilities. Specifically at this site, we reduced the size of the project, arranged specific turbines differently, ran extensive modeling in conjunction with their scientists, and will continue to share operating data once we reach full commercial operation," he added.

The ten state legislators that signed the letter, reported to include Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, hope the new Trump administration will continue its anti-wind stance from the presidential election campaign once the property tycoon enters office.

"This effort seems to fly in the face of the incoming administration's desire for less regulation. This attempt to unnecessarily regulate an already stringent process that is proven to be working well, threatens jobs and the surrounding communities' economic vitality – as well as our ability to hire military veterans as they transition from these very bases," Avangrid's spokesperson said.

"The military knows how to protect its bases and how to protect mission readiness. They have openly advocated for renewable energy as a pivotal weapon in the fight to do both – for many years now," he added.

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