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Wind farm advocate Richard Bunch presents to Edenton Lions

John Mitchener Edenton Lions Club  


    A few months ago sixteen Edenton Lions gathered for an evening of Hot Air! Not talking about the Weather Channel.

    Talking about wind 24/7 and daily 365 over land, river, and sound!

    Some recalled the winds of Hurricane Isabel in September 2003 or Matthew in October 2016 and Lady Flo in September 2018. Newcomers only know our gentle backyard breezes.

    They like our good blend of the four seasons.

    Lorenzo Bozo resident redneck was preoccupied with wind too.

    Squirming so much he asked Mimi Motormouth, "Got anything for wind?"

    She gave him a kite! He gave her a look that could kill!

    Quenched in his pants. Finally relaxed.

    Richard Bunch, program presenter, is a native son. Stork delivered him in 1954 to the Columbia, SC address Fort Jackson. Has ancestors galore. Family tree may predate Penelope Barker and the gals of the October 1774 Edenton Tea Party.

    In 1973 he graduated from Chowan High School (aka Gill Underwood High School). Got his BA in Business from the University of Georgia.

    His best decision was marrying Jean Harrell Bunch. Their son in Alaska lives on mooseburgers. Daughter in NC lives for three princesses who call her Mom. Currently Richard and Jean live in Tyner, near the site of a future wind turbine.

    Richard Bunch worked ten years for Joe Conger Oil Company.

    Then directed the Edenton-Chowan Chamber of Commerce for 27.

    Sparked a renaissance in the local Tourism Industry financed by the occupancy tax. Then three years with the Northeast Commission.

    Next seven years focused on wind turbines.

    The opportunities and potential of wind are what he shared with Edenton Lions. Richard is a credible economic developer.

    A word of context helps. Chowan County is blessed with good soil not only for figs, blueberries, and collards

    but also for growing soybeans, cotton, watermelons, and cantaloupes.

    Plus, peanuts. A local processor can trace "goobers" grown on a particular farm in Chowan County through all the steps required before it shows up as a Reese's Cup in your mouth! Fantastic!

    Trees grow well here too. Look at the acreage in Bear Swamp with stands of tall timber cared for by Weyerhaeuser. Cooler temps under the shade of the trees and warmer temps above the treetops daily create thermals of moving air.

    In years past the Albemarle Sound and the Chowan River were so plentiful with fish that when the annual herring run occurred a dog on the Chowan County side of the river could walk across the river (two miles plus wide at the bridge) on the back of the herring to Bertie County without getting his feet wet!

    That happened pre-WWII.

    Since the land is farmed and the rivers are fished, why not harvest our skies and the winds dwelling therein?

    Timbermill owed by Apex clean Energy out of Charlottesville, Virginia signed its first lease with a Chowan County landowner in 2013. Landowner receives rent which stabilizes ownership of the family farm over the next generation.

    This is most helpful particularly during times of uncertain crop prices and unpredictable swings in the tariffs of international farm trade.

    Question arises. Might tall turbines jeopardize the effectiveness of radar essential to national defense in the Mid-Atlantic area?

    Bunch reminds that the Department of Defense okayed the Amazon Wind Farm in Elizabeth City on this question in 2013-2014.

    Timbermill's development in Chowan County paused in 2017-2018 though the County had approved a conditional use permit (CUP) in November 2016.

    New questions have arisen. These were evaluated by MIT (aka Massachusetts Institute of Technology). New criteria for wind farms resulted.

    Apex did more research and met these new standards too.

    The U.S. military via the Southern Command determined June 2, 2021 that 45 turbines nearly 600 feet tall on a Windfarm in Chowan County would not adversely affect national defense.

    Now the work of securing other permits begins.

    The foregoing are just a few of the points Bunch made when not tossing Timbermill baseball caps or shirts with a 'YES' Windmill logo on them to his audience.

    Local redneck Lorenzo Bozo was beside himself that he did not get a shirt. Girlfriend Mimi Motormouth wanted a cap sooo bad. Pouts.

    Timbermill Wind Farm as currently projected will likely pay more in annual property taxes once completed than the five largest current taxpayers in the county combined. Expect $800,000 annually from Timbermill.

    Data from 2019 assessed valuations is significant.

    Five largest assessments are Jimbo-Jumbos valuation at $114,022,838.

    Next Dominion North Carolina Power at $22,734,595.

    Bank of America leasing comes in $9,270,185.

    Cameron Edenton Company LLC totals $9,082,027.

    while Gemini Edenton Village 14 LLC is $8,676.892.

    Timbermill Wind's annual assessed value for personal and real property is $135,619,333 over 30 years according to Mangum Metrics. Translates to 9% of total countywide assessed valuation.

    This is major money, particularly for a small county like Chowan that lost population in the recent census. Yet needs and wants to build a new and improved high school to better educate its students.

    Lorenzo Bozo getting restless now. Still wants to know what a 'ROTHR' is. Had heard that acronym all night long. It does NOT stand for 'RICHARD of TYNER' the program presenter but translates to 'Relocatable over the Horizon Radar.' Now you know.

    Small smile from Lorenzo appreciating our pun.

    Stay tuned. Timbermill plans to be online in 2023.


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