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NC - Bipartisan group pushes for offshore wind energy

A bipartisan group of North Carolina U.S. representatives has strongly endorsed federal efforts to develop offshore wind energy with seven members of Congress – more than half the delegation - requesting a personal briefing later this month and stating they wanted to act quickly and avoid a decade-long moratorium on new wind energy leases imposed by former President Donald Trump set to begin July 2022.

The letter from two Republicans and five Democrats acknowledges a recent study commissioned by the N.C. Department of Commerce that found tremendous potential for growth in offshore wind generation. The study stated, in part, that North Carolina could generate far more energy than the state is projected to use in 2035 and could capture future investments exceeding $100-billion in the wind energy business. The study, conducted by industry consultants and N.C. State University, details how North Carolina’s existing ports and other infrastructure could support expansion of wind energy and provides a blueprint for long-term improvements.

The letter from the Congress members asks the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to promptly and responsibly advance existing lease areas and identify new ones, if possible.

“We look forward to working with BOEM … to move these processes forward, capture the massive economic potential of this nascent industry and meet the clean energy goals outlines by both President (Joe) Biden and our home state,” wrote Republican representatives Richard Hudson and David Rouzer and Democrats Deborah Ross, Alma Adams, G.K. Butterfield, David Price and Kathy Manning.

“This is a great example of bipartisanship and how we can work together in North Carolina,” said Randy Sturgill, campaign organizer for the nonprofit environmental group Oceana.

“North Carolina is particularly well-positioned to meaningfully contribute to the offshore wind industry,” the Congress members wrote. “We rank first among East Coast states in both technical potential for offshore wind generation capacity and manufacturing workforces…

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