A federal task force is surveying locations for offshore wind farms along North Carolina’s coast. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will be gathering feedback on the proposed sites next year.
WHQR’s Michelle Bliss reports that state officials are holding public forums in Brunswick and Onslow counties Monday and Tuesday to discuss the possible sites, which include areas off the coast of Oak Island and Beaufort.
Jen Banks works for the North Carolina Solar Center which brings development to the state for renewable energy sources like solar and wind. She’ll be speaking at this week’s forums to highlight industry benefits.
“When you have a wind project and lock in the rate of that wind project, it’s not affected by fuel price volatility, so you lock in that rate for the 20-25-year lifetime of the project. And for offshore wind, you have the benefit of stronger and steadier winds over the ocean, so you’re able to generate more electricity from those wind turbines.”
Along with those benefits, a major concern for other communities along the east coast has been the visual impact of having large turbines cluttering the skyline. Banks says that the federal task force charged with approving wind farm sites requires that lease blocks be a certain distance from the shore specifically for that reason.
“Right now, there are no lease blocks being considered that are less than seven miles from shore. And, actually, there’s a study being conducted creating the visual assessment of what it would be like to see these turbines from shore.”
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is working on those simulations.
Representatives from Governor Perdue’s office, the state department of commerce, and the North Carolina Solar Center will be presenting at this week’s forums, along with Progress and Duke Energy companies.
NOTE: Check out the newest map drawn by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's North Carolina Offshore Renewable Energy Task Force, which began its work in January. The task force is charged with coordinating efforts to facilitate commercial leasing for offshore wind on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore from North Carolina. This newest map shows nearly 500 lease blocks that the task force is considering.
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