The carbon pollution from five coal plants could be eliminated in North Carolina if wind power is developed off the North Carolina coast, according to a new analysis by Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center. The report comes right as Congress considers whether to renew tax credits critical to wind development.
“Wind energy is a wise investment for the environment and the economy,” said Rep. David Price. “In North Carolina, developing the infrastructure to support wind power could help us meet up to a third of our energy needs while creating tens of thousands of jobs and an estimated $22 billion in economic benefit. I strongly believe that wind and other renewable sources are critical to our energy future.”
The analysis predicts offshore wind will grow significantly in North Carolina over the next 15 years, producing enough power for 2.7 million homes.
“Wind power can replace the dirty energy sources of the past and the pollution that comes with them,” said Dave Rogers, field director for Environment North Carolina. “But we need to act now to ensure a clean energy future.”
The report, More Wind, Less Warming, comes just days after the comment period closed for the Clean Power Plan, which Congressional leaders are trying to block. The analysis also comes as lawmakers jockey over the fate of wind energy tax credits in the nation’s spending plan, due to be adopted next week.
"Offshore wind would not only deliver high-value energy with no emissions, but it also represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build an entirely new industry of high paying jobs,” said Brian O’Hara, President of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition. The economic and supply chain opportunities are especially good for coastal states with good port infrastructure."
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, North Carolina has the most offshore wind potential of any Atlantic state. Offshore wind development, which is expected to begin next year in the Northeast, and is a major source of clean energy in other countries, is critical to achieving the pollution reductions needed to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.
“The time has come for offshore wind power. North Carolina state leaders must aggressively push for this carbon-free and zero-fuel cost energy to ensure the State will benefit from this clean and job-producing energy source”, said David Carr, General Counsel at the Southern Environmental Law Center.
“Speeding the development of pollution-free wind energy will slow global warming,” said Rogers. “That’s why our leaders should invest now in healthy air and a healthy planet.”