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Offshore Wind Energy Advocates say North Carolina Lags Behind Atlantic Coastal States

Andy Dingley
Offshore wind turbines in the Irish Sea off Walney Island

North Carolina could begin issuing oil and natural gas drilling permits as early as next spring. But a newly-published report by an environmental advocacy group says North Carolina has the most offshore wind energy potential of any Atlantic state. 

WHQR’s Isabelle Shepherd reports that proponents for alternative energy are calling upon North Carolina legislators to set a bold goal for offshore wind power.

Four other Atlantic coastal states are actively working with the federal government to advance offshore wind energy. That’s according to a report published by the National Wildlife Federation. And although North Carolina is courting natural gas development, Wilmington City Councilman Kevin O’Grady says the legislature’s focus on hydraulic fracturing is misguided.

“Our beaches are pristine. They’re the best natural resource we have in this state. One oil spill will ruin that. That is an external cost that we have to avoid. Wind power does not have that problem.”

The report finds that offshore wind power could create high wage jobs. But supporters of fracking, including Governor Pat McCrory, say drilling could offer the same benefit.  McCrory also says he’s committed to expanding the energy sector while protecting the environment.