As states up and down the east coast move forward with plans to develop wind farms off their shores, North Carolina continues to lag behind according to a new report released today by Environment North Carolina. While North Carolina has more offshore wind potential than any other Atlantic state, the state is falling behind in taking advantage of this clean, homegrown energy source.
“North Carolina actually has the potential to power our entire state using offshore wind,” said Graham Givens of Environment North Carolina. “If we were to develop just a fraction of the wind energy resources off North Carolina’s coast, we could easily meet 20% of the state’s energy needs.”
The report titled Wind Energy for A Cleaner America II details the state-by-state potential for wind development in the next five years. Unfortunately, North Carolina currently has zero wind farms likely to hit this timeline. Other east coast states, including Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, and Rhode Island are leaps and bounds ahead of North Carolina in building wind farms off their coasts.
The potential benefits of wind power have made it a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce the carbon pollution fueling global warming 17 percent by 2020. The plan calls for an expansion of renewable energy, investment in energy efficiency, and the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
“North Carolina risks being left behind,” said Givens. “According to the Department of Energy, North Carolina has the potential to add more than 10,000 new jobs in a way that protects our environment.”
The report showed that across the country, states taking advantage of wind power are already reaping huge environmental benefits. Wind energy in the United States is already avoiding the carbon pollution equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road, while saving enough water each year to meet the needs of one million people.
“We’re calling on Sen. Kay Hagan to help jumpstart wind development in North Carolina by supporting the extension of the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit and the Offshore Wind Investment Tax Credit,” said Givens. “We were first in flight, now the time has come for North Carolina to be first in wind.”