Report: Offshore Wind Electricity Poised For Growth In NC

Dec 5, 2014

A windmill on Jennette's Pier in Nags Head.
Credit Dave DeWitt

 A new report from advocacy group Environment North Carolina says the state is under-utilizing its capacity to produce electricity from wind power.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, North Carolina has the most offshore wind potential of any Atlantic state.

If tapped, the report says offshore wind resources in the state could grow to power 2.5 million homes by 2030.

“We actually have the potential if we were to fully develop the resource to power the entire state from offshore wind,” says Dave Rogers with Environment NC.

The advocacy group cites growth in wind-generated power overseas, and hails its zero-carbon output.

But infrastructure and North Carolina’s sparse coastal population would be challenges for the wind industry to grow.

“Electricity likes to take the quickest path to get off the grid,” says Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Duke Energy. “So you want to have your generation somewhat near population centers.”

Political will is another hurdle for the industry. This week, the U.S. House extended the wind production tax credit by only one year. That may force some wind-production companies to shelve long-term plans.