Ten major North Carolina environmental, energy, and business organizations have launched the new Offshore Wind for North Carolina (OSW4NC) coalition to support wind energy development off our state’s coast.
The coalition will “engage North Carolina residents, businesses, and state and federal leaders to elevate the economic and environmental opportunities that offshore wind presents, and urge state and federal governments to move forward with policies necessary for North Carolina to reap the full suite of benefits of its offshore wind potential. This includes removing market barriers to offshore wind power, evaluating future wind energy areas off North Carolina’s coast, and ensuring offshore wind is developed in an environmentally responsible manner.”
“North Carolina is one of the country’s leaders in solar energy, but has only just begun to tap into its massive wind energy potential,” said Carrie Clark, our Executive Director. “We’re proud to join the members of this broad coalition who come from different perspectives to the same conclusion: North Carolina must ditch fossil fuels and move urgently to a clean energy economy which includes a robust offshore wind portfolio — for the sake of our economy, environment, and health.”
As well as NCLCV, the founding groups are Audubon North Carolina, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), North Carolina Coastal Federation, North Carolina Conservation Network, North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, Sierra Club North Carolina, and Southeastern Wind Coalition.
Wind energy opponents sometimes use alleged concern for bird life to attack its development. However, the North Carolina branch of the oldest and largest American bird conservation organization has a different take on the matter. “There is no greater threat to birds than our changing climate, and North Carolina has a huge opportunity to be a part of the solution by advancing responsible offshore wind energy,” said Greg Andeck, Director of Government Relations for Audubon North Carolina. “We’re proud to partner with a broad group of organizations committed to ensuring this industry grows in the right way, with projects that are sited and developed to protect birds and usher in a cleaner energy future for all.”
Assertive offshore wind development is viewed as essential to zeroing out the United States’ net contributions to climate change in time to prevent catastrophe. Wind’s key role is reflected in both the Biden Administration’s ambitious national goals and those the Cooper Administration set for North Carolina: an added 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power nationally by 2030. That’s enough electricity to power about 20 million homes, “the equivalent of 14 coal-fired power plants the size of Duke Energy’s Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman.”
Indeed, there is enough wind capacity off our coast to power our state five times over, suggesting huge economic potential when paired with battery storage that can then deploy and export excess capacity out-of-state.