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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.

Gov. Roy Cooper reacts after U.S. skips North Carolina for new offshore wind areas

The Dominion Energy wind pilot project off Virginia Beach generates enough electricity for about 3,000 homes.
David Boraks
Dominion Energy's wind pilot project off Virginia Beach generates enough electricity for about 3,000 homes.

Gov. Roy Cooper says he's disappointed with the federal government's decision to exclude two sites off North Carolina from a new round of offshore wind leasing areas.

Cooper said the decision jeopardizes North Carolina's goal of having 8 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2040.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Monday picked three potential wind areas off Delaware, Maryland and Virginia to move forward, out of eight areas that were originally proposed.

“While this decision is extremely disappointing, it will not slow North Carolina’s momentum in reaching our offshore wind energy goals as we transition to a clean energy economy,” Cooper said in a statement. “The Biden-Harris Administration and North Carolina have outlined strong goals to increase offshore wind energy generation and this decision jeopardizes both plans."

Two years ago, Cooper issued Executive Order 218 that calls for 2.8 gigawatts of wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040. Reaching that goal would power 2.3 million homes. The Biden administration has a goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.

The Southeastern Wind Coalition, an advocacy group, applauded BOEM’s announcement but also called for more study of North Carolina sites.

"We look forward to continued collaboration between BOEM and federal agencies to ensure that stakeholder impacts are considered while we work to prioritize shallow water leasing that will allow us to reach our state procurement goals. We hope BOEM is able to prioritize potential lease areas off the coast of North Carolina during the second wave of WEA identification,” president Katherine Kollins, said in a statement.

Cooper said he'll continue to press federal officials for more projects off North Carolina.

"North Carolina remains committed to becoming the nation’s leader in offshore wind energy and stands ready to work with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to identify alternative solutions to solve this problem,” Cooper said.

Three other wind areas off Kitty Hawk and Wilmington have already been leased to energy companies and are in the planning stages.

Charlotte-based Duke Energy Renewables Wind and TotalEnergies Renewables of France signed leases a year ago for the Wilmington wind areas. Avangrid Renewables is planning a wind farm off Kitty Hawk.

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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.