UNC & Duke To Develop Coastal Wind Pilot Project

A pilot project to test the viability of using ocean breezes along North Carolina’s coast for energy production will soon begin. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and Duke Energy announced they have signed a contract to place up to three demonstration wind turbines in the Pamlico Sound.

The pilot project builds on a nine-month study completed in June 2009 by UNC for the N.C. General Assembly that found, “North Carolina is well positioned to develop utility-scale wind energy production.”

These demonstration turbines will be some of the first placed in water in the United States, providing UNC with an opportunity for ongoing research about issues raised in its coastal wind study. Duke Energy will pay for the turbines and their installation. UNC will continue its research throughout the project.

“This project is a great example of how university research can expand our understanding of an issue — in this case, wind energy,” said UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp. “Then an industry partner like Duke Energy can use that research to do what they do best and develop this on a larger scale.”

The pilot turbine installation will facilitate utility-scale wind energy development by enabling studies to optimize measuring and predicting the wind resource, quantifying ecological impacts and demonstrating turbine performance in tropical storm conditions, Duke said.

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