Gov. Roy Cooper says it’s time for North Carolina to take advantage of clean, abundant wind energy. Last week, he issued a new executive order (PDF) setting goals for offshore wind energy development and directing state executive agencies to take specific steps in support of those goals. The goals include producing 2.8 gigawatts (GW) of wind power by 2030, and 8 GW by 2040. The latter goal would generate sufficient electricity to power more than 2.3 million North Carolina homes, about 25% of the state’s projected energy consumption.
“Offshore wind power will help North Carolina create jobs and generate economic development while helping us transition to a clean energy economy,” said Cooper. “North Carolina’s national leadership in clean energy and manufacturing plus our highly trained workforce create a strong business environment for offshore wind supply chain and manufacturing companies.”
“As every day, we’re grateful for Gov. Cooper’s clean energy leadership that creates good, homegrown jobs while taking bold climate action,” said our executive director Carrie Clark. “From Day One, he has fought to protect our coast from offshore drilling and is now fighting to power our state and boost our economy with offshore wind. Our long coastline provides a huge opportunity to transform our state and our neighboring states.”
Michelle Allen, project manager for Environmental Defense Fund’s North Carolina Political Affairs team, wrote that the executive order “signals that North Carolina isn’t watching from the sidelines when it comes to offshore wind – our state is ready to seize the moment and claim billions of dollars for the state’s economy while reaping the priceless benefits of a cleaner, healthier, more resilient energy system… Meeting North Carolina’s climate and clean energy goals will require a combination of smart policies to reduce carbon pollution and accelerate clean energy. Offshore wind will play a key role in reducing power sector carbon pollution with proven, reliable, pollution-free energy.”
Cooper’s efforts are part of implementing his Clean Energy Plan unveiled almost two years ago following 2018’s Executive Order 80, with little to no help from our General Assembly. But there’s only so much Gov. Cooper and our state government can do. To fully realize a climate recovery, Congress must pass President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and its full slate of clean energy infrastructure investments. Tell your U.S. Senators and representative to Build Back Better!