Library filed under Offshore Wind from North Carolina
Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina are teaming up on an effort to kickstart wind energy and economic development off their shores. The new initiative provides a framework for the three states to "cooperatively promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce," they said in a joint press release.
Altogether, tracts off of the Carolinas could mean $45 billion in investment, the report reads. But interest has been lower in tracts off the Carolinas for several reasons, including “a lack of an offshore mandate … lower power prices, and lower capacity factors.”
Avangrid has been working to bring offshore wind to North Carolina since 2017 when it submitted a $9.1 million bid to lease the 122,000-acre tract off the coast of Kitty Hawk Coastal Reserve. But all along executives have said the process will take time. In addition to regulatory hurdles, it’s a complex and expensive project – made even more difficult by the fact that the tract is miles out to sea.
The study was approved as part of the legislature’s budget, which was vetoed by the governor over other matters.
A ban on land-based wind projects expired, but industry leaders say new onshore development isn’t a current priority.
“A lot of it just has to do with the market conditions coming together that make it very competitive,” she says, noting that improvements in both process and technology, including bigger turbines being developed, are making the numbers work in off-shore's favor.
Two companies have been tasked by the federal government with conducting ultra-high resolution aerial digital surveys of wildlife off the coast of North and South Carolina of sites for proposed offshore wind farms. The survey by APEM, based in Manchester, England, and Normandeau Associates Inc., which has an office in Stanley, N.C., will provide baseline data to help with siting and permitting future developments.
“Folks feel really strongly about these location. They often grew up going to these beaches and now take their children.” “If you build turbines that are close to shore and you lose those loyal customers, you have to find the new ones." Attracting an entirely new customer base to replace current renters could be a lengthy and difficult process.
“There was a lot of support for wind energy, but no one was willing to pay more to see wind turbines from the beach by their vacation rental property. And if turbines are built close to shore, most people said they would choose a different vacation location where they wouldn’t have to see turbines."
"Eighty percent of respondents would either not come back to the same vacation spot if turbines were built offshore, or said they would require such large price discounts to re-rent at the same location as to be unrealistic. People want their beaches to remain in a natural state,” said center Director Laura Taylor.
An offshore wind farm erected off the coast of North Carolina would reduce coastal rentals and potentially harm tourism, even if the energy project was placed at a maximum distance from shore, a study by N.C. State University economists found.
Carrie Moffett, executive director of the Bald Head Association for property owners, said the official findings don't adequately reflect all possible effects. "Our position is that there is not a good understanding of or research into the potential impact of the turbines, at their proposed distance, on property values and tourism, which this area is heavily dependent on," she said. In a resolution drafted Feb. 23, the Village of Bald Head Island requested the Bureau of Energy Management move the energy areas at least 20 miles offshore.
Federal officials with the Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) expect hundreds of turbines to churn out energy off of the Bald Head Island coastline. On Wednesday, BOEM hosted the North Carolina Renewable Energy Task Force, a coalition between the federal agency and local interests such as representatives from Bald Head island, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and state government officials to discuss the steps being made to bring wind energy to the North Carolina coastline.
North Carolina’s environment secretary has urged a federal agency not to sell wind energy leases within 24 miles of the state’s coast, a limit that advocates say would largely block wind farms. ...“We have voiced consistent concerns and sought similar protections for both offshore wind and offshore oil and gas development.”
The first leases allowing wind turbines offshore of the Carolinas are expected to be let next year although some still worry the massive turbines could harm tourism upon which coastal communities depend.
State lawmakers have largely deregulated other energy production, but ramped up rules for potential wind farms, making it more feasible for wind companies to look to other states.
Prospects for large-scale wind farms off North Carolina’s coast got a lot smaller Monday when the U.S. Department of Interior announced it reduced the areas of the Atlantic Ocean where turbines can be built.
When the U.S. Department of the Interior brought an offshore wind farm simulation to coastal North Carolina this week, residents weren't thrilled with what they saw. The possibility of seeing an array of red warning lights on 460-foot-tall turbines far offshore on clear nights drew a thumbs-down from many viewers.
"I wouldn't object to these fields being 15 nautical miles out but they have been proposed near our community at 6 and 7 miles because that's where wind conditions and shallow water is," Scott explained, saying that this is too close for comfort. The BOEM study wasn't linked to any actual concrete plan for development of wind turbine farms off the coast but served as a hypothetical to inform both the public.
"[Duke Energy] has been committed to supporting research and study of wind energy generation, and we continue to believe there is good wind off the North Carolina coast, but we also recognize that any development in wind off the coast of the state has to make sense for our customers, the coastal communities and the company as a whole."