RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory has officially gone on record supporting the U.S. Department of Interior’s efforts to create offshore energy sites in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, federal authorities have extended the time people have to comment on proposed leases for offshore wind energy along the North Carolina coast.  

The governor sent a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Office of Renewable Energy Programs Jan. 22. The letter announced that the N.C. Energy Office, with the governor’s support and along with the N.C. Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force and the BOEM, supported the DOI’s decision to go forward with designating three sites off the state coast for development of offshore wind energy.

“I believe an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan that includes wind is vital to a prosperous energy future in North Carolina,” the governor said. “I have pledged to establish a partnership with neighboring states to develop offshore resources and recruit companies to bring a much-needed infusing of energy, jobs and investment to the state.”

Gov. McCrory said local, state and federal officials, as well as business and community leaders, have been meeting for almost two years to discuss ways to move forward with coastal wind energy development. He said developing commercial wind farms off the coast could stimulate factory development in North Carolina.

“Development of commercial wind power off the North Carolina coast could help diversify the portfolio of renewable energy sources in the state,” he said.

Gov. McCrory said North Carolina already has 2-3,000 jobs in wind energy and related businesses. These businesses include ABB, Nucor and PPG, which make components used in wind turbines.

“The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has estimated that developing North Carolina’s offshore wind energy resources could generate $22 billion in new economic activity and create as many as 10,000 permanent jobs,” the governor said. “This potential has been solidified with the recent renewal of the federal wind production tax credit.”

Gov. McCrory was referring to the tax credit in The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, also known as the Fiscal Cliff Bill, that President Barack Obama signed Jan. 2. The renewed bill allows taxpayers to claim 2.2 cents per kilowatt per hour in tax credit for wind energy produced for a 10-year period from a wind facility placed in service by the end of 2012.

The bill was renewed through this year. It was also modified to allow renewable energy facilities being construction before the end of the year.

Gov. McCrory said developing the state’s offshore wind energy resources will do more good than just helping the North Carolina economy.

“It will continue to fulfill work toward an ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to move our nation toward greater energy independence,” he said.  

Call for Information and Nominations

While Gov. McCrory is siding in favor of developing offshore energy, BOEM is looking for more input and opinions from other people on developing North Carolina wind energy. The bureau announced it’s reopening the comment period on the Call for Information and Nominations for three areas off the state coast.

The three areas being looked at are outside Carteret County. The first is in the Outer Banks, the second is 17 miles south of Bald Head Island and the third is 11 miles southeast of Sunset Beach.

The call is being reopened to gauge the offshore wind industry’s interest in acquiring commercial wind leases in three areas offshore North Carolina and to request comments regarding site conditions, resources, vessel traffic, visual impacts and other uses within the call areas.  

 BOEM is also reopening the public comment period on its Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment. Through the NOI, the bureau is seeking public comment for determining significant issues and alternatives to be analyzed in the EA. The EA will consider potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with issuing commercial wind leases and approving site assessment activities on the lease areas.

 The call and the NOI were originally published in the Federal Register on Dec. 13, 2012, for a 45-day comment period that ends on Jan. 28. BOEM has decided to reopen the comment periods at the request of a number of stakeholders seeking more time to submit comments and nominations.

The comment periods will be reopened for an additional 30 days. The closing date will be listed in the Federal Register Notices announcing the re-opening of the comment periods. BOEM expects the notices to be published within the next two weeks and will send out confirmation once they do.

 Comments may be submitted by one of two methods. They may be submitted electronically at the website www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=BOEM-2012-0090 for the NOI and the website www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=BOEM-2012-0088 for the call.

Comments may also be sent by mail, or deliver by hand, enclosed in an envelope labeled ‘‘Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Commercial Wind Leasing and Site Assessment Activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore North Carolina’’ or “Call for Information and Nominations for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North Carolina.”

Written comments should be mailed to Program Manager, Office of Renewable Energy Programs, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 381 Elden St., HM 1328, Herndon, Va. 20170–4817.

Reporter Mike Shutak contributed to this article.

(16) comments

David Collins

These guys are serious. No way to stop this insanity? 10,000 jobs? If you put them out in the ocean, you will need 10,000 people just to keep them from falling apart . At least research what is going on in Europe with this wind stuff. It costs like fire , Output does not live up to the hype and yes, saltwater and electricity can make for a bad marriage . [sad]

Newpine

Agreed. If you can't build them on land in NC, how do they expect to build them in the sea?

justrite

I can't beleive this again is being shoved down our tax paying throats to research something we already know! Don't say this has nothing to do with taxes and our funding this project because you know it does. China and the few backing this gig will continue gain more than us. Jobs, the only job creation here will be service related, trash pick up, maid service and liquor sales to food service. Everything material and manpower related to this funded project will come out of town and most likely out of state and country. Everyone remember former govenor perdue visiting china for 2 weeks right before being elected out of office? The money making, self serving politicial machine continues! This has nothing to do with thinking eco-green, it's money green.

dc

Just rite, you got it just right.

morehood city res

ha, what do we do now? a democrat wanted offshore wind turbines, now a republican supports it too! Pat is a republican right? maybe we can comprimise, put out some turbines in the ocean but only if we also drill for shale gas. uh wait, that would most likely be a waste of time and money too. http://www.2b1stconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Marcellus-Shale-Gas-Reserves-Map.gif
how about solar? maybe if we spent all the money invovled in research on wind and shale we could just buy everybody some solar panels for their roof. no that probably wont work, someone will find something to complain about on that one too. ugh, it is so difficult pleasing everyone, wait, maybe that's the problem, trying to make everyone happy, how about we let the free market decide. if someone starts selling alternative energy at a lower price then we could have another choice! we have different stores to choose from when buying goods, maybe someone could venture into other energy options as well and we could have different power companies to choose from! that would be great if we could get the energy czars out of D.C. where they make it seem like there is only one option. choices sounds good, you can power your house with coal, shale gas, wind, solar, little hamsters on a wheel, what ever you want!

dc

Talking to some folks who said they were told by one of the informed who installed solar panels on a base project that it would pay for itself in just eighty-two years. That is if they did no maintenance on it. Great ROI huh? Good thing the govt. isn't in business. We'd all starve.

David Collins

I believe McCrory is more interested in the influx of money that would come here when this potential boondoggle is forced down out throats. He also knows that there is nothing he can do about this issue. The decision is in the hands of the Obama Administration, because that is where the money is. If anyone is really interested in what will happen, Google --- Offshore wind farm problems. Be prepared to spend a little time on this. There is oh so much the supporters of this plan are not telling you. And, by the way, they know it. [sad][sad]

dc

Of course, you're right about chasing the $ francis. The problem is by chasing the $ you become part of the problem and exacerbate the problem. It's not unlike the lending debacle where they were told to do it or else. Similarly, the pharmaceutical companies going along with the wonderful new health care program or else. Isn't it funny though how the offenders can turn things around and make the defenders look like the real offenders? It's a no win situation. BTW, I've found it's great to have reached the golden years and welcomed into the new system. The coverage I once had required a $5 co-pay for a certain medication. Under the wonderful new system it's a $40 co-pay (only 8 times more than before). Asked the pharmacist asst. what it would be without any coverage, and it's only $200. Isn't that great how the program is working? Thought the old folks were suppose to be taken care of didn't you? It's more exciting than what Chris Matthews said about his idol when he saw/heard him utter his first words from the teleprompter. Don't know if I can stand it if it gets any better.

the secret life of sand

Fellow county peeons don't waste your time.Your opinion only counts if you're for it.

Big Fat Drunk Republican

You old geezers know you sound like the naysayers about the world being round, or Columbus can't do it.

It'sa good thing Ben Franklin and Edison didn't listen to people like you.

Good thing people like Carnegie, Henry Ford and the Wrigjt Brothers listened to their dreams instead of he old geezers of no during heir time.

As far as tax dollars go. Why don't we cut out all energy subsidies, we could start with folks who get the biggest piece of the pie, the oil industry. See how you fare.

David Collins

Those guys did not finance their dreams on the backs of the taxpayers. Huge difference !

Big Fat Drunk Republican

Francis, you are fine with oil co's getting tax dollars though? Have you ever stopped and thought about how much we spend with our military to keep the oil flowing? you mention guys of the past not needing tax dollars. A big difference between that time and today.

Do you know how the Hoover Dam was financed?

Being able to make educated arguments begins with knowing how tax dollars are spent in the energy sector and who is getting it. Do your research and get back to us.

David Collins

Yup, I have thought about just that subject. Wars are generally brought on for Economic reasons. Oh they sometimes put a different name or spin on it , but generally it is about one side having something the other wants. Oil lubricates the world's economy and we have taken it upon ourselves to try and protect the free flow of commerce. Money makes our imperfect world go round and that is just the way it is. If you have a different way to do it, Do Tell . Hoover Dam , taxpayer money to be offset by selling energy to the folks , I guess. I know they are still fighting about the water allotments . Hydroelectrics was a proven technology and still is , where putting wind turbines many miles out to sea where you can't readily get to them for maint. and repair is , in my humble opinion , not too smart. If we have to have them , at least put them where they can be accessed and near the existing transmission lines. You do seem to have a h--d one for the oil industry. Make a bad investment or two , did you ? [wink]

Big Fat Drunk Republican

I'm not one of those that hates oil or gas, I will actually take this time to ask everyone to please sign this http://pure-gas.org/

I don't hate ANY form of energy, I believe we should use them all. I just find it interesting that people criticize Federal wind and solar investments and act as if it's some new tax or new burden on tax payers, when our country has been subsidizing energy in this country for close to 100 years.

Seems you would be more upset an industry like oil and it's companies who are among the richest in the world need Gov subsidies, as you said it's proven profitable technology, yet you let it slide and don't blame republicans or democrats for investing in our countries needs.

However, give some money to clean energy and new industries that could create new jobs and innovations and oh my gosh those evil democrats.

My final point is the energy sector is going to get the same amount of money from taxpayers, seems silly to get mad that 10-20% of it actually gets used for new innovation while the rest goes to those old proven companies you talk about.

David Collins

I have said this before. I am against subsidies in general. I also think having paid professional lobbyists is not a good thing. Way too much money being used to influence politicians decisions. Are these things going to go away ? No chance. Let the free market determine what works and what doesn't. Most big companies have a R&D division. That and the universities is where most of the innovations will come from. Giving tax breaks or incentives for things that don't work is not too bright. What will happen if they put those things in the ocean and they fail to work? At least build one or so on land near the transmission lines and see how it goes before obligating us to pay for the whole farm and everything that goes with it. Of course the environmentalists haven't gotten involved yet and that is what has held up the wind farm off the Massachusetts coast for the last 12 years. Oh, the powerful political families in the area don't like the idea as well. Don't want to be able to see them from their homes. OK for you and me but not in their backyard.

ZACKroxas

Developing the renewable sources that we have will greatly help our electrical consumption. US as well is now providing natural source of energy like wind turbines. In fact, the Obama administration is touting the renewal of subsidies for renewable energy sources, as a law creating a number of subsidies for wind energy generation, among other sources, is set to expire at the end of the year. The reason the administration wants to renew the subsidy is that without it, the cost of wind energy could rise 30 percent, which wind energy producers and equipment manufacturers typically receive in federal subsidies. Look for financial assistance to own a wind turbine and reduce your carbon footprint.

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