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Report Says NC Must Act To Compete In Offshore Wind Industry

Dominion Energy says its 2-turbine offshore wind pilot project in the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia Beach is ready for commercial service.
Dominion Energy
Dominion Energy completed its two-turbine offshore wind pilot project in the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia Beach last fall.

A new report says as many as two dozen wind farms could be built off the East Coast over the next 15 years. But North Carolina has work to do if it wants to compete for the estimated $140 billion in investment.

The report by British consultants BVG Associates for the state Department of Commerce says North Carolina companies could supply equipment and services for projects all along the East Coast, not just North Carolina. But experts have said the state lags behind some other states in preparations for the new industry.

The 131-page reportoffers 48 recommendations in six areas:

  • Recruiting suppliers of major components to build factories and other facilities here.
  • Developing a state offshore wind strategy.
  • Offering workforce training.
  • Improving the state's seaports.
  • Continuing collaboration through a newly formed consortium with Maryland and Virginia.

The state Department of Commerce ordered the study last year to identify potential suppliers as well as competitive gaps that needed to be addressed.

“Wind energy means new jobs for North Carolinians,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Sanders said in a press release. “Just like biotechnology was for us many years ago, today clean energy represents an industry of the future and North Carolina always embraces the future.”

North Carolina has one federally approved project in development. Avangrid Renewables of Portland, Oregon, has a federal lease to build a wind farm 27 miles off Kitty Hawk. The Kitty Hawk Wind Area project would generate about 2,500 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 700,000 homes.

Avangrid also runs Amazon's giant wind farm on farmland near Elizabeth City, the state's first wind project.

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David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.