Construction on Kitty Hawk North Wind Energy Area slated to begin next year

By on April 18, 2023

Graphic depicts maximum allowable size of Kitty Hawk Wind Area turbine at 1,041. (Kitty Hawk Wind)

Located 27 miles off the coast of the northern Outer Banks, the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area (KHWEA) is being developed by Avangrid, an international energy development company. As the site moves closer to energy production, the company has been holding a number of community meetings to help the public understand the details of the project.

The latest meeting was held at the Corolla Public Library in Corolla on the afternoon of April 13.

The entire KHWEA is approximately 200 square miles and if fully developed will be able to produce 3,500 megawatts (MW), enough energy to power as many as one million homes, according to Avangrid.

Initial plans call for the northern third of the lease area to be developed. The latest information from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) indicates that 69 wind turbines will be permitted at the Kitty Hawk North location.

The permit allows for turbines up to 1,041 feet in height, although Avangrid engineers at the meeting and the displays from Avangrid indicated that was a maximum allowable height and that the turbines may not be that large.

The displays included renderings of what the turbines at the 1,041 level would look like from various locations along the Outer Banks. The renderings, according to Steve Thompson of VIEWSHED, the company that created the images, show the turbines in “a worst-case scenario,” which occurs when the turbines would be most visible, typically mid to late afternoon.

The renderings, if accurate, show barely visible turbines along the horizon.

The issue of what would be seen from the shore is a central concern for a number of area residents. Corolla resident Tony Cerri, who attended the April 13 meeting, told the Voice that he believed that at the maximum allowable 1,041 limit, the turbines “will have a dramatic impact on the view from Corolla beach. Our horizon will be nothing but turbines.” Cerri said that view is based on mathematical calculations based on the curvature of the earth.

He also raised concerns about nighttime visibility of the turbines, describing what would be seen from Corolla as “a flashing rope light strung on the horizon.”

When asked if Avangrid had developed nighttime visualizations, Megan Higgins, Senior Director, New Project Development for Avangrid responded that a study had been done of the southern part of the lease area but did not mention the northern section that will be developed first.

Avangrid Engineers at the library, though, noted that the maximum height allowed is not necessarily what will be constructed. A number of factors go into deciding the length of blade and height of the turbine, including supply chain availability and conditions at the construction site.

If all goes as planned, construction will begin next year. Building the platforms for the turbines and installing them will take approximately a year. A 36-mile underwater cable will bring the energy to a substation in Sandbridge, VA. The cable will take a year to a year and a half to put into place.

At the same time, there is a measure currently in the North Carolina Senate sponsored by State Senator Bobby Hanig. The bill, which is now in committee, would impose a “moratorium on the consideration of permit application and issuance of permits for the construction of new offshore wind energy facilities.”

The bill has not yet been voted out of committee. Because the lease area is well outside the three miles of the state’s ocean jurisdiction and the energy that is being generated will be transmitted to Virginia, the bill would not appear to affect the Kitty Hawk north project.

Asked if the bill would affect the permitting or construction of the Kitty Hawk north area, Senator Hanig responded that the state would have “No role in [that] permitting process.”


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  • Oddguy

    Is no one concerned about the danger to water fowl? Not mention whales?

    Tuesday, Apr 18 @ 6:57 pm
  • Dan

    The typical industrial wind turbine uses 4 tons copper, 3 tons aluminum, 335 tons steel, 1 ton rare earth minerals (the EPA hates open site mining and will fight, or make impossible, any new permits) Copper mines are so energy intensive that small fossil fuel power plants are built on site. These are just some of the many items that go into this inefficient technology (which only works 50% of the time). Because it is not reliable the electric grid powered by wInd turbines needs fossil fuel backup available at a moments notice. Wind turbines have life spans of 20 years. Fossil fuel power plants last decades longer and can be upgraded as needed. Please research this and educate yourselves on how pathetic this really is. Oh, but I forgot that the Federal Govt is throwing billions and trillions of incentive $$$ at this! Money that doesn’t actually exist.

    Tuesday, Apr 18 @ 7:26 pm
  • Ed

    I would like to be first to complain that being one of 320 million Americans who each use more electricity than any human ever before us, in any country, I am against increasing energy production to serve my gluttony. .

    *This complaint brought to you using electricity.

    Tuesday, Apr 18 @ 7:50 pm
  • Edward Joe Hendrix

    Offshore wind power is incredibly expensive to build and worse.. maintain. Son works for the largest renewable energy company in the world, stock symbol NEE. Presently manages with his team over 500 land based units in Washington State. CEO says they will never work / build offshore units. Be ready for giant electric bills from this development. Not a protester here, just laying out real facts.

    Tuesday, Apr 18 @ 7:53 pm
  • Joe

    Dan hit the nail on the head. In the 1980’s we drove a Honda Civix VX and it got 48 mpg. If put all the trillions (that we don’t have) into combustion engines we could get 200mpg. It’s like putting 20 solar panels on your roof and it can’t even run your HVAC when you can simply caulk your windows, wear a sweater inside during the winter and cut your utility bill in half. Nuclear done clean without the waste is the future of energy not a wind turbine in the middle of the ocean or a dangerous solar array on a roof that can arc and catch fire.

    Tuesday, Apr 18 @ 11:00 pm
  • Ralph

    There is NO WAY these turbines will hold up long term. The environment will take them out. They will become a nuisance and deteriorate. What a joke.

    Tuesday, Apr 18 @ 11:27 pm
  • surf123

    Anecdotal stories (@Edward Joe Hendrix), concern over the materials used (@Dan), return to the Stone Age (@Ed) are all examples of wanting green, but not in my backyard. @Edward Joe Hendrix no company is going to pursue this unless they can make money and it certainly must be possible as wind power is in use in other parts of the world. Add to that there is no family powerful enough to stop it like they will off of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Nothing is ever cheaper so as @Edward Joe Hendrix say be prepared to pay for this on your bill.

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 1:02 am
  • KIM

    This will be a complete disaster. It will tacky up our beautiful ocean & put wildlife & sea life in danger. Humans are the most destructive species on the planet & here is a prime example of that. Leave the ocean alone !!!

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 3:05 am
  • Cindy Coughlan

    This is ridiculous. For all the solar farms and wind farms we have already I haven’t seen a decrease in my energy bill. Consumers get no reprieve for any of these idiotic government funded ideas that will be an eyesore to our beautiful coastline.

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 8:45 am
  • Dave

    NOAA Scientist Warned Of Offshore Wind’s Harm To Whales Last Year

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 9:30 am
  • Lisa

    There was just an article out this past week how these solar farms along Va and NC will interfere with military preparedness and activity out of Norfolk. So besides the endangerment of animals, the military needs to be considered now. This project needs to stop.

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 9:41 am
  • Dan

    Correction to surf123 – my post is not an example of “wanting green”. Man Made Climate Change is a complete and absolute hoax. Science can’t be proven by forecasts, models or projections – all of which can cherry pick data and produce any result required. The climate will change in ways we can’t know or control, but the U.N. and the Uniparty here in the U.S. will definitely seek to control you.

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 10:30 am
  • WindyBill

    This planet MUST reduce fossil fuel use. This is one viable alternative. We will not truely know how well it works until we try it full size on site. Or, we can scream, do nothing, and have out kids watch the OBX disappear.

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 10:49 am
  • BarnacleBill

    Never thought I’d say this but I would surely love to see the SELC come in to make sure all the permits are in order and wildlife is protected. Should only take 30 years or so to straighten things out!

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 6:19 pm
  • Dan

    Dear Windy Bill – we do not have to reduce fossil fuel use unless you believe the lies that you are being fed. Man can’t control the climate on the planet earth, period! And even if we could, there is zero global cooperation. While the U.S. and Europe waste money and resources on solar and wind, most of the planet has no intention of doing so. Please tell me what China, India, Pakistan, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico, etc are doing along these lines – I can answer for you – NOTHING! It is all a giant joke.
    It’s arrogant and insane to think building wind turbines off the coast of OBX will do anything but waste time and money.

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 7:20 pm
  • T Pahl

    There is a huge propaganda machine operating to undermine alternative energy in America. Representative Hanig’s bill was most certainly drafted by them. Their purpose is to wring the most profit possible out of every fossil fuel option before finally walking away and leaving America woefully behind in energy technology. Those who run this machine, and politicians like Bobby Hanig are in the pockets of the fuel energy industry. Their propaganda is full of half truths, outright lies, appeals to false patriotism, and even laughable claims to support certain interests of the Audubon Society! If you suggest that we need to be developing energy technology to be implemented alongside fuel energy….not either/or, but all of the above, they will still promote their moratoriums and the like, which is the most telling of all their strategies. That it has nothing to do with making America great, but only with eliminating every form of competition from the energy market. Stop these people. Tell Bobby Hanig “No go on the moratorium”.

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 9:01 pm
  • Kristy

    Hey WindyBill, I hope you are joking. Wind turbines in the ocean will never be beneficial, only destructive.

    Wednesday, Apr 19 @ 9:11 pm
  • Kitty Hawker

    Everyone has failed to mention this will potentially not even benefit (& I use that term very loosely) us until possibly 2028? The initial farm is linked to Virginia and a New Jersey/ /Pennsylvania transmission line and this has been stated in articles on OBX Voice. So now who is guilty of “not in my backyard”? They are all happy to vacation here and now use us as a resource – until there’s nothing left and they will move on to the next place….

    Thursday, Apr 20 @ 6:25 pm
  • Dave

    Federal Regulator Concedes Offshore Wind Could Pose Threat To Marine Life

    Saturday, Apr 22 @ 9:35 am