SEWC & Partners Announce Launch of Offshore Wind Coalition

North Carolina Organizations Launch Offshore Wind Coalition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2021

Media Contact: Jaime Simmons, Southeastern Wind Coalition, (614) 596-2113, jaimes@sewind.org
                           Greg Andeck, Audubon North Carolina, (919) 800-1801, greg.andeck@audubon.org 

Raleigh, N.C. -- A group of North Carolina business, energy, and environmental advocates have announced the formation of a coalition to advance offshore wind in North Carolina. 

The Offshore Wind for North Carolina coalition, or OSW4NC, will work together “to ensure that North Carolina is positioned as a national leader for responsible offshore wind development.” The coalition will engage North Carolina residents, businesses, and state and federal leaders to elevate the economic and environmental opportunities that offshore wind presents, and urge state and federal governments to move forward with policies necessary for North Carolina to reap the full suite of benefits of its offshore wind potential. This includes removing market barriers to offshore wind power, evaluating future wind energy areas off North Carolina’s coast, and ensuring offshore wind is developed in an environmentally responsible manner.

OSW4NC supports the offshore wind targets Governor Cooper established through Executive Order (EO) 218, including offshore wind energy targets of 2.8-gigawatts by 2030 and 8.0-gigawatts by 2040. These goals follow years of measured progress to advance the state’s offshore wind industry, including participation in the bipartisan, multi-state SMART-POWER initiative to reduce regulatory barriers and jointly pursue the industry’s manufacturing supply chain, and the Department of Commerce’s publication of a Ports and Supply Chain study which outlined North Carolina’s existing strengths to manufacture, construct, and operate offshore wind turbines. 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates North Carolina has the highest technical potential for offshore wind generation among Atlantic coast states, which could generate enough electricity to power the state more than five times over. In addition to favorable development conditions, North Carolina is home to the largest manufacturing economy on the East Coast, including over 30 companies that already supply the land-based wind industry. These assets create a compelling dynamic to support a robust offshore wind industry. By acting now, North Carolina can be a national leader in moving the industry forward while bringing vast economic and environmental benefits to the state. 

Founding OSW4NC partner organizations include Audubon North Carolina, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Entrepreneurs, North Carolina Coastal Federation, North Carolina Conservation Network, North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, Sierra Club North Carolina, and Southeastern Wind Coalition

“There is no greater threat to birds than our changing climate, and North Carolina has a huge opportunity to be a part of the solution by advancing responsible offshore wind energy,” said Greg Andeck, Director of Government Relations for Audubon North Carolina.  “We’re proud to partner with a broad group of organizations committed to ensuring this industry grows in the right way, with projects that are sited and developed to protect birds and usher in a cleaner energy future for all.”

“North Carolina chamber of commerce and economic development leaders are excited to welcome thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in capital investment that will accompany offshore wind energy projects in the state. Whether it’s the expansion of existing manufacturers, addition of new suppliers, or the influx of new investment in project areas, offshore wind is one of the greatest opportunities for NC to build a stronger, cleaner economy,” said Susan Munroe, Deputy Director of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy.

“Offshore wind is taking off and can play an important role in reducing power sector carbon pollution, providing North Carolina communities with reliable energy while delivering cleaner air and a more stable climate. The offshore wind industry will also be a boon for the state’s economy, driving new investment in local communities and delivering good paying jobs,” said Michelle Allen, Project Manager for EDF North Carolina Political Affairs. “The OSW4NC coalition demonstrates broad support for offshore wind and the range of benefits it can bring to North Carolina and its people.”

“E2 is excited to be joining the OSW4NC coalition,” E2’s Southeast Advocate Zach Amittay said. “Through responsible development, offshore wind has the potential to significantly boost NC’s economy, drive job growth, and help us meet our climate goals. E2 looks forward to contributing to this important campaign to advocate for responsible offshore wind development in NC and to advance our state’s transition to a clean economy.”

“Offshore wind is a key piece of our state’s transition away from reliance on imported coal and gas,” said North Carolina Conservation Network’s Energy Policy Manager Will Scott.  “We look forward to helping ensure that North Carolina shifts to an energy system that does right by our environment and our climate.”

"North Carolina is one of the country's leaders in solar energy, but has only just begun to tap into its massive wind energy potential," said Carrie Clark, Executive Director of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters. "We're proud to join the members of this broad coalition who come from different perspectives to the same conclusion: North Carolina must ditch fossil fuels and move urgently to a clean energy economy which includes a robust offshore wind portfolio — for the sake of our economy, environment, and health."

“We are proud to partner with our allies and other stakeholders in the OSW4NC coalition as part of our effort to dismantle dirty fuel dominance and create a better climate future,” said Erin Carey, Coastal Programs Direction for the North Carolina Sierra Club. “There is no greater threat to our planet than climate change. Done responsibly, offshore wind will bring clean, renewable energy to North Carolina that benefits our environment and our communities. By working together to promote carbon-free energy production, we can secure a better tomorrow for all.”

“North Carolina is in a great position to power both our state and economy with offshore wind development. NCSEA is excited to work with all partners and stakeholders to maximize the positive impact this sustainable resource has to offer all communities within our state,” said North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association’s Government Affairs Manager Sarah McQuillan.

“The variety of voices represented in the OSW4NC coalition is exactly what is needed to meaningfully move the offshore wind industry forward in North Carolina, and to realizing all that offshore wind has to offer,” said Jaime Simmons, Program Manager for the Southeastern Wind Coalition. “Offshore wind is unquestionably necessary to reach our clean energy goals, and has the potential to bring thousands of family-sustaining jobs to our communities. The OSW4NC coalition’s important work of amplifying public support, providing insight to government agencies and industry, and elevating our state’s existing strengths will be critical to laying the groundwork for North Carolina to become the offshore wind leader we’re capable of being.” 


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