Pasquotank and Perquimans Counties - Homegrown Tools

Pasquotank and Perquimans Counties, NC

Updated: 2022

Two rural counties in northeastern North Carolina partner together to land a renewable energy development that boosts the tax base and provides new income to agricultural land owners.

Population2020 39,775 / 13,513
Median Household Income2020$54,439 / $51,036
Poverty Rate 202012.3% / 12.1%
Proximity to Urban Center 44 miles to Norfolk VA
Proximity to Interstate Highway 8 miles
Case Study Time Frame
Municipal Budget 2020127.4 million / 19.1 million
Data Source: US Census, American Community Survey
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Renewable energy generation in the US has been on the rise since the early 2000s. In North Carolina, renewable energy generation has been dominated by solar, but more recent investments have been made in wind by private sectors. Specifically, in early 2017, the Amazon Wind Farm, built by Avangrid Renewables (part of Iberdrola Group), came online in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties. The development came to fruition thanks in part to local practitioners’ work to understand and embrace a new type of land use in their community as well as advocacy by environmental groups.


Economic development practitioners in Pasquotank and Perquimans County negotiated significant tax incentives for their communities. Additionally, Amazon Wind provides economic support to area farmers whose land is under a long-term lease; they receive annual payments of $6,000 per turbine hosted on their property while still being able to farm 95% of the land.


“There’s been a long history in our view in North Carolina of giving low income communities […] economic development projects that nobody else wants for which they’re supposed to be grateful. So this is an opportunity for two low-wealth counties to derive significant income from clean energy, which we viewed as a win-win,” said Molly Diggins, State Director of the Sierra Club. Although it might be difficult to replicate due to differences in legislative environments, this is an example of a community innovatively taking advantage of a unique resource.



Stay abreast of trends in the industry. Remember that “development of wind projects continues to be dependent on state-by-state approaches as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach.” For states with more relaxed rules than North Carolina, the Amazon Wind Farm can serve as a model. The WINDExchange website offers current information on how different states are trending in wind farm regulations.


Embrace new opportunities. County commissioners, economic developers and planners in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties seized the opportunity presented by Avangrid Renewables even though they had no experience with a project of this nature. They were willing to accommodate new land use in the community, develop an incentive package and ultimately create a precedent for other North Carolina counties to follow.


Do your due diligence. County commissioners, economic developers, and planners conducted research on how other communities had handled wind development projects. Together, they visited a comparable wind development in Somerset, PA and talked to local stakeholders. Craig Poff, director of business Development for the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern US for Avangrid Renewables, noted that government officials were “demanding and careful and deliberate, but cooperative…they really did their own homework.”


Capitalize on physical assets. Location was key to the development of the Amazon Wind Farm. Unbeknownst to county officials, “the Desert” exhibited favorable conditions for wind energy development. Furthermore, the area was located on the Dominion Energy Grid, which allowed for negotiation of a PPA. This project found an additional use for farm land that produces benefits for the community without inhibiting farm production.