Gov. McCrory urged to ramp up offshore wind power

Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center

Raleigh, NC — More than 60 organizations, businesses and local officials delivered a letter to Gov. McCrory today, urging him to make offshore wind power, which has vast potential in North Carolina a key part of the state’s energy supply.

The letter comes as Gov. McCrory is spending more time promoting offshore drilling than offshore wind, most recently at U.S. House of Representative’s hearing where he criticized the current plan to allow drilling 50 miles off the North Carolina coast as too restrictive.

 “Governor McCrory has stated his support for offshore wind,” said Dave Rogers,  Environment North Carolina State Director. “But in terms of action, all of his time seems to be spent focused on how we can drill off the coast as quickly as possible. He should be focused on the energy sources of today and tomorrow, not the dirty sources of the past.”

North Carolina has the most offshore wind potential of any Atlantic state. In fact, a University of North Carolina study showed that there is enough offshore wind potential to power the entire state.

The letter cites the urgent need to ramp up wind power production to help curb the pollution fueling global warming, leading to the rising sea levels that are already impacting the coast from the Outer Banks to the South Carolina border.

Tapping the state’s offshore wind potential would yield economic as well as environmental benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, developing just a fraction of our offshore wind potential could create between 10,000 and 20,000 new jobs in North Carolina and reap more than $22 billion in economic benefits for the state. 

Offshore wind power could play a crucial role in meeting carbon pollution reduction targets under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, scheduled to be finalized late this summer.

The letter called on Governor McCrory to use offshore wind to help the state meet its requirements under the Clean Power Plan, and to work with regional partners to develop a demonstration project as the next step towards large-scale offshore wind development.

“We have vast, untapped potential to power North Carolina with pollution-free wind energy”, said Rogers. “But, it’s up to our leaders, like Governor McCrory to make sure we fulfill that potential.”