First wind turbine of largest wind farm in southeast

The first turbine of the largest wind farm in the southeastern United States now stands above a Pasquotank County corn field.

The other 103 planned for the approximately $400 million project will be built before the end of the year, said Paul Copleman, spokesman for Avangrid Renewables, formerly Iberdrola Renewables.

The turbine will not provide power until after many tests, he said.

The project was first announced over five years ago. The groundbreaking was held a year ago Thursday. The first turbine of the region’s first wind farm is visible to traffic on U.S. 17 west of Elizabeth City. A tall crane stands nearby. Another tower stands farther from the highway but does not have its turbine mounted yet.

All of the roads have been built and 250 people are at work on the site, Copleman said.

“It’s busy out there,” he said. “We’re putting a lot of people to work.”

Each tower and turbine will rise 500 feet into the air and weigh 375 tons. Hundreds of trucks have been hauling concrete and rock to build roads and turbine foundations.

Located about 5 miles west of Elizabeth City, the Amazon Wind Farm will be the largest of its kind in the southeastern United States. The project will generate up to 208 megawatts, enough to power 60,000 homes. The current will flow into the local grid as part of Amazon’s goal to generate 100 percent of its power usage with renewable energy.

When construction ends, the company will retain 14 permanent positions with an average annual salary of $80,000.