Offshore Wind a Boon for North Carolina’s Environment and Economy

A new report released today found that offshore wind turbines could create up to three times as many jobs for the state as offshore oil and gas drilling, according to a new report released today by Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center.  The report, “Wind Mills, Not Oil Spill, The Environmental and Economic Benefits of Offshore Wind Versus Offshore Drilling in North Carolina” also details the environmental benefits of offshore wind power and documents the risks of drilling off North Carolina’s prized coast.

With more offshore wind potential than any other state along the Atlantic, North Carolina is ripe to benefit economically and environmentally from this clean resource.  Offshore wind can reduce our reliance on coal-fired power plants that emit the pollutants that threaten public health and fuel global warming.  At the same time, as many as 10,000-20,000 new jobs could be created due to offshore wind, compared to 6,700 for offshore drilling.

“The findings of this report are simple:  offshore wind is estimated to create up to three times as many jobs as offshore drilling, without putting the states beaches, or its tourism economy, at risk of a devastating spill,” said Margaret Hartzell, Policy Advocate with Environment North Carolina.

Unfortunately, many in North Carolina’s General Assembly continue to push energy policies of the past.  Introduced by Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenberg), Senate Joint Resolution 819 encourages putting North Carolina’s beaches and economy at risk, while not mentioning the enormous potential of offshore wind.  The resolution has been referred to the Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

“With the passage of the first Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Standard in the Southeast in 2007, North Carolina established itself as a leader in renewable energy.  The state should continue down that path, rather than wasting its time on business that will harm the environment and our coastal economy.  I’m disappointed in the direction of this resolution,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford).

The report recommends setting an offshore wind goal in North Carolina of 5,000 MW, establishing Power Purchase Agreements, and providing tax credits for offshore wind developers.

“The choice is clear—North Carolina’s path to a clean energy future travels through offshore wind,” concluded Hartzell.