North Carolina offshore wind turbines at least 5 years away

Experts from the North Carolina Offshore Wind Coalition have said that wind turbines very likely will not be constructed off the North Carolina coast for at least five more years. According to Brian O’Hara, president of the NCOWC, "It’s not an industry that happens really fast. With the permitting and environmental studies that have to take place, the earliest we would see something off our coast is probably in the 2017-2018 time period."

The findings were released by Governor Ben Purdue’s office earlier this month in a report compiled by a 15-person panel over the course of several years. It recommended engaging with wind energy companies and pursuing further research to determine the state’s potential to support the wind industry. "We recommend that the governor engage with industry to attract to N.C. a wide range of supply-chain facilities and jobs associated with the emerging wind-energy industry," the report said.

Although the report states that North Carolina has some of the East Coast’s most promising sites for wind turbine installations, it will take a while before their capacity will be up to par with extant wind power operations. In the United States there are a few offshore operations, with projects off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island underway, but much of our current generating capacity comes from wind power projects farther inland.

Outside the United States, nations in Europe in particular have eagerly embraced offshore wind technology. In 2011, wind projects in Europe accounted for over 21 percent of all new power capacity, and met nearly 7 percent of its overall power demands. Germany and France in particular have greatly expanded their interest and investment in wind power, but they are far from the only European nations to greatly expand investment in wind energy projects.