RALEIGH – In the wake of the General Assembly’s recent approval of a moratorium on onshore wind power projects, 50 elected officials, small businesses, community groups and environmental organizations have signed a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper calling on him to embrace offshore wind as a key part of North Carolina’s energy plan.
House Bill 589 was passed in June with a late amendment that set an 18-month moratorium on onshore wind power developments. Cooper, who had before the amendment urged passage of the measure to boost solar energy development in North Carolina, signed the bill July 27, but he also issued an executive order intended to keep wind project reviews moving during the moratorium.
Environment North Carolina, a statewide advocacy group based in Raleigh, said Cooper’s Executive Order 11 was a promising statement about the future of offshore wind power and that the letter urges him to go further by backing it up with tangible investments and a specific target for wind energy production.
“Despite the legislature’s baffling onshore wind moratorium, Governor Cooper can continue to drive progress on clean, carbon-free energy by focusing efforts on offshore wind developments,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford. “The hiatus on onshore wind activity should not detract from North Carolina’s tremendous offshore wind potential and the need to jumpstart action on that front.”
The federal government has identified three areas off the North Carolina coast to lease for the development of offshore wind farms.
The letter highlights “the risk that sea-level rise and storm surges pose to North Carolina’s thriving coastal economy and ecosystem.” With these coastal communities and landscapes under threat from climate change, the letter cites the importance of rapid adoption of clean energy technologies in reducing greenhouse gases.