North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue has released a study on the state's offshore energy potential, which includes guidance related to wind power, thermal energy, hydrokinetic technologies, natural gas and oil.
The report, prepared by the governor's Scientific Advisory Panel on Offshore Energy, found that North Carolina has the largest offshore wind resource on the East Coast.
"The offshore wind industry may offer significant opportunities for renewable energy generation and for economic development and job creation," the panel said. “North Carolina’s extensive coastline and large offshore wind resources appear to make it a prime area for offshore wind development.”
North Carolina should continue to move ahead to promote opportunities for offshore wind development with the appropriate statutes, rules and regulations that “foster and encourage appropriate offshore wind development consistent with concerns for the coastal environment and communities,” the report said, adding that the state needs to “engage with the industry to attract to North Carolina a wide range of supply-chain facilities and jobs associated with the emerging wind energy industry.”
The panel also recommended that the state create a program of research and data collection to ensure there is adequate information to evaluate the impacts of offshore energy exploration and energy development. It also suggested that North Carolina engage in comprehensive ocean and coastal resource management to ensure the sustainable and best use of ocean and coastal resources.
The panel’s findings and recommendations stress that development of any offshore energy resource carries both risks and benefits.
“Exploration and development of offshore energy resources - oil and natural gas, wind, hydrokinetic technologies and thermal - pose environmental and economic benefits,” the panel said in its findings. “The development of any sources of offshore energy, whether renewable or fossil fuel, will likely have some socioeconomic and environmental impacts…and challenges related to infrastructure development, including transmission."
The governor created the Scientific Advisory Panel on Offshore Energy in an executive order issued in September 2009. The 15-member panel is led by former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard, and consists of scientific experts, environmental advocates and representatives from the energy industry.