Iberdrola files permit application for 300 MW wind energy project in North Carolina

Iberdrola Renewables Inc., filed an application with the North Carolina Utilities Commission as the first step toward development of a wind energy project it is considering in Pasquotank and Perquimans Counties in the northeastern part of North Carolina.

If built, the Desert Wind Power Project — named for the flat, agricultural region in the area — would be located on approximately 20,000 acres of private land near Elizabeth City. The company is considering development of a 300 megawatt (MW) project, which is enough to power between 55,000 – 70,000 North Carolina homes with clean, homegrown electricity.

“Developing our green economy is a cornerstone of my vision for North Carolina’s economic future,” Governor Bev Perdue said. “Projects such as the proposed Iberdrola Renewables’ wind farm can help us lay the foundation for North Carolina to lead the nation in clean, homegrown energy.”

Iberdrola Renewables has been working with the communities, landowners, multiple state and federal agencies, and conducting various studies on the potential project since 2009. The filing today represents the first step of many regulatory reviews that must be completed before Iberdrola Renewables makes a final decision on the project, which could begin construction as early as late 2011.

If developed as proposed, the wind turbines is expected to bring substantial economic benefits to the area.

“Governor Perdue has made fostering the development of clean energy projects a priority to make North Carolina a national leader in the green economy,” Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco said. “We encourage Iberdrola Renewables to invest in North Carolina for a major wind energy project. This project would spark creation of clean energy manufacturing and jobs in North Carolina.”

Construction would be expected to create over 400 jobs, payments to local landowners could approach $1 million per year for the life of the Project, and additional property tax revenue would result from the Project’s operation. Additionally, due to the Project’s small footprint, less than two percent of the agricultural land would be taken out of corn, soybean, and cotton production.

Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. is headquartered in Portland, Ore., with more than 850 employees. It is part of the Iberdrola Renovables global group, the world’s leading provider of wind power with more than 12,000 MW of renewable energy installed around the world, and more than 4,600 MW of that wind power located in the U.S.