Amazon Wind offers proof of NC's energy potential

There's an area of northeastern North Carolina so flat and plain that locals sometimes call it "The Desert." The landscape, however, is anything but barren, with fields of soybeans, wheat and corn stretching for miles. 

And now a new crop is being harvested: wind power.

 
 

The Amazon Wind Farm US East, which began operating in February 2017, is the first utility-scale wind farm in North Carolina and the largest to date in the Southeast. Its 104 wind turbines spread across Perquimans and Pasquotank counties can generate enough electricity to power more than 61,000 homes per year.

The wind farm is producing more than electricity. In 18 months of construction, the project pumped millions of dollars into the local economy. Millions more will be generated in the coming years through lease payments to landowners who host the turbines and property tax payments to county governments.

Listen to what local farmers and business owners have to say about the Amazon Wind Farm project and what it means to their livelihoods, their communities and their families.

Paul Waff, Edenton: Paul is the second-generation owner of Waff Contracting, an industrial and commercial pile driving, marine construction, bridge demolition and recycling company. Gamesa rented storage space on Paul's property for parts of its wind turbines during construction of the Amazon Wind Farm, and Waff Contracting unloaded and loaded the tower sections. Paul's family has lived in Chowan County since the late 1700s. In 1880, his grandfather started a fishing company on the Chowan River that his father and four uncles ran until the decline of the fishing industry in 1950; they then began the company that is now Waff Contracting. 

Horace Pritchard, Elizabeth City: Horace is a former Pasquotank County commissioner and chair of the Pasquotank County Economic Development Commission. His great-great-grandfather was the first generation of his family to farm in Pasquotank County. Now Horace and his son, H.C., grow corn, soybeans and wheat on 1,300 acres in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties. Horace leases space on his land for nine turbines of the Amazon Wind Farm, and sees it as a way to guarantee income for his farm during lean years and stabilize its future for his son and grandchildren.

Simon Rich, Edenton: Simon is a partner and the general manager of Stevens Towing Co. of NC, a barge freight transportation company based in Edenton. The company transported parts of the wind turbines for the Amazon Wind Farm by barge from the State Port at Morehead City to large storage areas in Edenton owned by Waff Contracting. The small port in Edenton is the nearest the company’s large barges can travel by water to the construction site. Simon's family has lived in eastern North Carolina since the late 1950s and has been primarily involved in agriculture over the last half century.