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Renewable Energy Approved for Carolinas

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Published Sep 18, 2015 2:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) has approved an offshore wind energy leasing project off the North Carolina coast. The approval comes after the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) identified a 480-square mile area in the Atlantic Ocean for constructing wind farms that would pose no significant environmental or socioeconomic threats to the region in its published Environmental Assessment (EA).

The EA specifically identified three Wind Energy Areas off North Carolina totaling approximately 307,590 acres that would be ideal for wind farm development. The release of the EA moves North Carolina one step closer to producing clean energy.

BOEM has announced a public meeting of the North Carolina Task Force, which will take place on October 7 in Wilmington and address BOEM’s proposed approach for an offshore wind auction. Next, the agency will publish a Proposed Sale Notice in the Federal Register, which will include a 60-day public comment period. The successful bidder will have exclusive rights to begin site characterization and assessment.

Harnessing offshore wind energy has been a primary objective for the Obama Administration, and the Atlantic Coast is among the most ideal for development.

The Atlantic seaboard offers a shallow seabed and proximity to the large electricity demand centers of East Coast cities, where energy supplies that do not impair air quality are highly valued. Because unobstructed ocean breezes blow stronger and more consistently than wind over land, they produce electricity that is more efficient, predictable, and valuable.

While there are currently no offshore wind farms in the U.S., DOI has already approved developments off Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia.

Click here to read BOEM’s full EA.