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WFAE reporter David Boraks explores how the way we live influences climate change and its impact across the Carolinas. You also can read additional national and international climate news.

U.S. and states agree to collaborate to build an offshore wind industry

Duke Energy's plan includes potential offshore wind beginning in the 2030s. This wind turbine is in the Atlantic off Virginia.
David Boraks
A wind turbine in the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia.

The Biden administration announced a partnership Thursday with a bipartisan group of East Coast governors, including North Carolina's Roy Cooper, to help meet state and federal goals for expanding offshore wind energy and fighting climate change.

The U.S. still has no major offshore wind farms, but experts say the industry could bring $140 billion of investment and thousands of jobs over the next decade. Katharine Kollins of the Southeastern Wind Coalition said cooperation is overdue.

"Something like this I think has been needed for a long time. Coordination in this industry is always important, given the number of constituencies that are already at the table," Kollins said

The partnership involves 11 states from Maine to North Carolina that the administration describes as early leaders in offshore wind. They'll tackle issues like U.S. wind turbine manufacturing, shipbuilding, port development and worker training.

"There are a number of issues that can be more efficiently addressed regionally than just a patchwork approach of state by state," said Jeremy Tarr, Gov. Cooper's climate adviser.

"This really addresses some regional issues that we all see when it comes to not just supply chain and workforce training, but also transmission and grid upgrades, working with existing ocean energy users, such as fisheries and other industries," Tarr said. "So we anticipate even closer communication and cooperation with our counterparts in other states and the federal government to advance these priorities."

Developing a U.S. supply chain for offshore wind is expected to bring $140 billion of investment and thousands of jobs to the East Coast over the next decade or so. North Carolina officials think the state can win $100 million of that.

President Biden has set a goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, which would be enough to power 10 million homes.

Gov. Cooper's own goal is 2.8 gigawatts off North Carolina by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040.

A company called Avangrid Renewables is planning a wind farm off Kitty Hawk and Duke Energy and a French company recently won federal leases to develop additional wind farms off North Carolina over the next decade.

See the White House announcement.

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