Wilmington, NC – Offshore wind supporters packed the public hearing room Wednesday at the Courtyard Marriott in Wilmington as North Carolina took another step towards getting the first wind turbines spinning off our coasts.
The hearing was the second of two conducted by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to gauge public interest in offshore wind development in North Carolina. The meeting was an opportunity for the public to learn about the next steps we need to take to make offshore a reality in North Carolina and comment about the plan in place.
“North Carolina has the most potential for offshore wind of any Atlantic state. It’s time to turn that potential into a reality, and become a leader in the clean energy economy. Wind power can create thousands of jobs in a way that doesn’t put our environment at risk,” said David Rogers, Field Director for Environment North Carolina.
“I’ve spoken to thousands of North Carolinians and the support for offshore wind has been overwhelming. Most see it as a way to meet our energy needs while protecting the places that make North Carolina so special,” said Rogers.
The next step will be for BOEM to begin the leasing process. Depending on the number of companies interested in developing offshore wind, BOEM could hold an auction for the leases or negotiate with a single wind developer. While other states like Virginia and New Jersey have taken this step, the three proposed areas in North Carolina, at 1,441 square miles, are larger than the combined total of all the other areas under consideration in the Atlantic.
The public comment period ends on January 28th, 2013. People can submit their comments at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=BOEM-2012-0088-0001