The U.S. Department of the Interior is moving ahead to designate three sites off of the N.C. coast for possible development of offshore wind energy, including two sites off the Cape Fear region, state and federal officials said Wednesday.
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has identified three potential areas for commercial offshore wind energy off the N.C. coast. Two areas are located 7 and 13 miles offshore from Wilmington. The other is about 6 miles off of Kitty Hawk in the Outer Banks.
A formal announcement, titled: "Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North Carolina – Call for Information and Nominations," is being published in the Federal Register on Thursday, Dec. 13.
"This is good news and an important step in North Carolina's responsible development of our offshore energy resources which will move our nation closer to energy independence," stated Gov. Beverly Perdue in a news release. "The development of offshore wind energy diversifies the state's energy sector, creates much needed jobs in our coastal communities and positions our state for a 21st century economy.
"Today's announcement sends a clear message that our state is open for business and we will lead the southeast in the development of the nation's clean energy economy."
The purpose of the "Call" in the Federal Register is to gauge interest in acquiring commercial wind leases in some or all of the designated areas on the Outer Continental Shelf and to seek public comments regarding site conditions, resources and other uses of these areas. This is the first step in the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's offshore wind planning process before deciding whether to issue commercial wind leases.
In a news release, the N.C. Sierra Club lauded the development.