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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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North Carolina

Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Currituck County - Wind Energy Systems Ordinance   

Last DSIRE Review: 09/28/2012
Program Overview:
State: North Carolina
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Wind
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Utility, Agricultural, Institutional
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Currituck County Unified Development Ordinance 3.10.9

In January 2008, Currituck County adopted an ordinance to regulate the use of wind-energy systems. The ordinance directs any individual or organization wishing to install a wind-energy system to obtain a zoning permit from the county planning board. Small-scale systems require only administrative approval for the permit, while large systems and utility-scale projects require approval from the board of commissioners.

For the purposes of this ordinance, a wind-energy system is classified as "small" if it has a single turbine with a rated capacity of 25 kilowatts (kW) or less; as "large" if it consists of one or more turbines with a rated capacity of less than one megawatt (MW); and as "utility scale" if for installations of more than one turbine with a rated capacity of 1 MW or greater.

Height Requirements: The total height of a wind turbine is determined by the height above grade to the tip of the turbine blade as it reaches its highest elevation. Small wind systems are restricted to a 120-foot height limit, whereas large systems are restricted to a 250-foot height limit, and utility scale systems are restricted to a 500-foot limit.

Visual Appearance: Towers and rotor blades must maintain a galvanized finish in a non-obtrusive color such as white, off-white or gray. Wind systems must also remain free from advertising, including flags, streamers and other decorative items, as well as artificial lighting, except that which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Any on-site transmission or power lines must, to the extent possible, be placed underground.

Setbacks: The ordinance generally requires that non-utility-scale wind systems be set back from surrounding property lines by one linear foot for every foot of the turbine’s height. Utility-scale systems must be set back at least 1.5 times the turbine’s height. Small turbines must be placed on lots of at least 20,000 square feet, whereas large systems must be placed on lots of five acres or greater, and utility-scale systems must be placed on lots of at least 25 acres. All systems must maintain a set-back of at least 2.5 times their height from certain highways, and 1.5 times their height from public and private right-of-ways. There are also minimum setbacks for occupied buildings on the owner’s property and adjacent properties; however, these requirements may be waived if a written waiver is signed by all affected property owners.

Installation Requirements: The installation and design of all wind systems must comply with applicable industry standards and all electrical and mechanical components must conform to relevant local, state and national codes.

Impact Analysis, Mitigation and Planning: Applications for large wind-energy projects must include a site plan showing the location of each planned wind turbine relative to all proximate roads, property lines, buildings and geographical boundaries; decommissioning plans; signed and approved copies of any negotiated power purchase agreement; and, for utility scale projects, a detailed environmental impact study.

  Public Information Officer
Currituck County
Department of Planning
Currituck Historic Courthouse
153 Courthouse Rd.
Currituck, NC 27929
Phone: (252) 232-3055
Fax: (252) 232-3026
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.