Offshore wind letter of support

Released by: Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center

To Governor McCrory:

On behalf of the organizations, businesses, and individuals signed below – representing tens of thousands of residents - we urge you to make a strong commitment to capturing the immense wind energy resource off our shores. Climate change poses an urgent threat to coastal and low-lying communities, and North Carolina is no exception. To protect our health, wildlife, and economy – and the quality of life of future generations, we must reduce pollution and launch a new clean energy chapter for America.

Here in North Carolina, we have more offshore wind potential than any Atlantic state. In fact, North Carolina has enough offshore wind potential to meet all of the state’s energy needs. In spite of this, we risk falling behind neighboring states with far less potential.

Investing in this pollution-free energy source with no fuel costs can help us reduce pollution and boost our local economies. And because offshore wind blows strongest during times of peak energy demand – summer afternoons and, winter cold snaps - it can diversify our energy portfolio with large amounts of valuable, clean power just when we need it most. 

Countries around the world are already reaping the economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind power. In Europe, this booming industry currently supports 70,000 long-term, quality jobs. Now, the U.S. can benefit from more than twenty years of lessons learned across the Atlantic, including technology advancements that have lowered costs and enable development in areas far offshore where the stronger wind resource can deliver greater environmental and economic 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. In total, North Carolina could gain more than $22 billion in economic benefits.

State leaders play a critical role in advancing offshore wind power off their shores. The federal government has made significant progress in recent years identifying appropriate locations for offshore wind development, including three Wind Energy Areas in North Carolina. We call on you to commit to the following actions and move North Carolina toward realizing the golden opportunity over our horizon:

  • Set a bold goal for offshore wind power in North Carolina’s energy plan. As states move forward with strategies to implement the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, offshore wind power offers a unique and scalable pollution-free power source for meeting local carbon emission reduction targets.
  • Advance policies that ensure a competitive market for offshore wind power. One of your federal legislative priorities should include reinstating a long-term investment tax credit for OSW.
  • Advance power contracts for offshore wind projects. State leadership is essential for facilitating investment in offshore wind power and jumpstarting the markets for this emerging industry, including pursuing opportunities for regional procurement.
  • Ensure an efficient, transparent, and environmentally responsible offshore wind leasing process that protects wildlife.
  • Enable key, early-stage initiatives to spur offshore wind development. Regional coordination and state policies enabling the construction of a regional demonstration project can help pave the way for future, large scale OSW development.

North Carolina’s citizens and wildlife are depending on you for bold leadership in ensuring a clean energy future. We strongly urge you to recognize just how much we have to gain from harnessing our offshore wind power potential in a manner that protects wildlife and their habitats throughout every stage of development. For the sake of coastal resiliency, local jobs, increased investments in economic development and manufacturing, wildlife, and future generations of North Carolinians, we thank you for your consideration of this promising clean energy solution, and look forward to working with you to develop a successful strategy to bring this transformational new power source online.