First Wind Energy Farm Blows Into the Southeast

Elizabeth City, North Carolina, will host a 204-megawatt wind energy facility—the first in a region known for steady coastal breezes. The project is a collaboration of European-based Iberdrola Renewables, LLC, and Seattle-based Amazon.

2 minute read

July 20, 2015, 5:00 AM PDT

By Pete Sullivan

The $600 million project includes 102 turbines on 22,000 acres, to be built by Spanish developer Iberdrola Renewables, LLC. It will generate enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes, though the electricity will not be used locally. Iberdrola has partnered with Seattle-based Amazon as its sole customer, and the project will help support the retail giant's cloud-computing division, Amazon Web Services. Power from the Elizabeth City project will be sent to regional transmission lines, feeding Amazon’s data centers in Virginia and Ohio. 

Currently there are no commercial wind energy farms in a region of nine southeast states, according to data from the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group. Part of the reason the southeast has been passed over by the wind energy industry is because the winds were not thought to be strong enough. But newer designs allow for taller turbines with bigger blades, which are able to capture stronger breezes and could help turn the industry’s attention toward the region for further exploration.

Project location

Wind energy also faces political challenges in the southeast, and the success of Iberdrola and Amazon could create smoother sailing for future projects. North Carolina in particular is considered to have some of region’s best winds, but proposals in the past have been pushed out due to opposition from tourism groups, interference with military flight paths, and potential harm to wildlife.

Sunday, July 12, 2015 in WRAL

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Rail tracks on the left, rustic log-built train station painted reddish brown with a green metal roof and concrete platform on the right, evergreen forest and bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds in the background.

More Passenger Rail Coming to Montana

Planning is underway to restore a 45-year-defunct regional passenger rail line connecting southern Montana to Billings and Amtrak’s east-west Empire Builder line from Seattle to Chicago.

May 14, 2024 - 8KPAX

Apartment For Rent Sign

HUD Proposal Would Soften ‘One-Strike’ Policy

Formerly incarcerated people are often barred from publicly subsidized housing, putting them at higher risk for homelessness and recidivism.

3 hours ago - Truthout

Water flowing through Glendale Narrows section of Los Angeles River in Glendale, California with a concrete bridge, power lines, and hills in background.

Los Angeles County Making Progress in Stormwater Capture

During this “super year” of storms, L.A. County has successfully captured 96 billion gallons of stormwater which is enough to meet the needs of about 2.4 million people a year.

4 hours ago - Los Angeles Times

Aerial Texas Hill Country at sunset, with an aerial view of a highway interchange and Interstate 35 in Austin, Texas.

The True Cost of Texas Highways

An explainer of the monetary, environmental, and social costs of exuberant road building.

5 hours ago - KERA News

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.