The National Park Service is using a wind turbine to generate electricity for the Coquina Beach bathhouse just south of Nags Head.
“You’re looking at 15 to 20 years on the payback. But if you’re planning to be there awhile, the investment makes sense,” said Jeff Brooks, of N.C. GreenPower.
The 2.5-kilowatt wind turbine produces enough power to operate the bathhouse, and any leftover power is released on to the local power grid. Officials said the power generated is small, but the implications are tremendous.
“I think the Coquina wind turbine, while small in capacity, is a huge step forward for wind power in North Carolina,” Brooks said. ...
At Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the idea is catching on. George Barnes, superintendent of the park, said the idea just makes sense.
“Jockey’s Ridge was formed by the wind. You can tell today the wind is blowing ... the winds are never not blowing out here,” he said.
Within a year, Barnes hopes to be operating at least one wind turbine to help generate power for the visitors center. He said the center gets 1.2 million visitors a year, and he hopes that project will help spread the word about wind power.
“It’s bound to reach some of ‘em,” he said. “Get people thinking.”
Of course, some people are concerned that there would be hundreds -- if not thousands -- of turbines blocking people's views of the oceans. But a few sound like a great start.