Offshore wind forum in Raleigh next week

Add this upcoming (April 18) Sierra Club event to your calendars if you can:

Offshore Wind Forum Spotlights NC’s Potential

RALEIGH, NC – Marcilynn Burke, Acting Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Interior, will be in Raleigh next Wednesday to talk about North Carolina’s offshore wind resource.  Ms. Burke oversees the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which has jurisdiction over offshore wind leases.   The first lease blocks in federal waters off North Carolina’s coast may become available this year.

With the best offshore wind resources on the East coast, it’s no surprise that the issue is drawing attention in North Carolina.  Award winning photographer and videographer Art Howard will also sit on the forum’s panel.  Mr. Howard will be previewing video from PBS’s upcoming premiere of the final segments of Earth: The Operator’s Manual, to be aired on Earth Day, April 22.

Not only does North Carolina have the offshore wind resource, but the state continues to draw related business interest.  Just last month, Ming Yang Wind Power announced that it will be opening a research and development facility in Raleigh.  With companies like ABB and PPG already manufacturing parts to support the land-based wind farms, North Carolina is well-positioned to support a substantial, emerging offshore wind industry.

The forum is being presented by the NC Sierra Club, Meredith College, and Interfaith Power & Light.  Details and a full list of panelists are below:

What:  First in Flight, First in Wind: A Community Forum on Offshore Wind in NC

When: Wednesday, April 18, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: Meredith College, 3800 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607 -in Kresge Auditorium, in the Cate Center

Panelists: Marcilynn Burke, Acting Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Interior
Deborah Ross, NC House of Representatives, District 38
Art Howard, Award Winning Photographer and Videographer
John Williams, Assistant Secretary for Energy, NC Department of Commerce
Brian O’Hara, President of the North Carolina Offshore Wind Coalition
Dr. John Bane, Distinguished Professor of Marine Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill



  1. Doug

    April 11, 2012 at 10:46 am

    We’ll all be senior citizens by the time the permitting is done for this project. They’ve been fighting for 10 years at Cape Cod. The big problem with wind is transmission difficulties. Just ask Boone Pickens who lost 100 million on wind projects.

  2. Jeff S

    April 11, 2012 at 11:01 am

    T. Boone’s decision to place his farm in Texas probably didn’t help his cause. His “loss” probably wasn’t one at all. He got the write-off and was able to put his capital to “better” use by destroying ground water reserves – also known as fracking for natural gas.

  3. Andrew

    April 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Other than coastal areas Jeff, Texas has some of the best wind sources in the country, but again transmission across long areas is the downfall for wind along with the inconsistency. You still have to locate nearby fossil generation to maintain stability in the lines.

  4. Frank Burns

    April 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    What they could do is incorporate this project with offshore oil drilling, except we would have to wait till November until after Obama’s defeat. He doesn’t like oil.

  5. david esmay

    April 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    @Frank, domestic oil production is at an eight year, so that statement doesn’t hold water. The GOP can’t field a respectable candidate, and their policies in the past have been abject failures, i.e., the Bush recession. Wind power has been very successful in the midwest and west, there’s no reason it can’t work here, especially with all the surplus hot air coming out of NC’s GOP GA.

  6. david esmay

    April 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    That’s an eight year high.

  7. Frank Burns

    April 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Don’t give Obama any credit for oil drilling, he had nothing to do with that. Obama’s departments are not allowing any offshore drilling permits. Wind turbines could be installed along with offshore drilling.

  8. gregflynn

    April 11, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    A year ago Bachman claimed just one permit had been issued since Obama took office. That was debunked by Politifact March 2011.

  9. John Grooms

    April 12, 2012 at 10:38 am

    What is really astonishing is Duke Energy honcho Jim Rogers telling the utilities commission a year ago that “North Carolina doesn’t have any wind [energy potential],” meaning that we should all be happy to settle for nuclear energy. Unfortunately for Rogers and wind power critics, the rest of us can read.
    In the past 18 months, two big national studies showed that North Carolina leads the East Coast in wind power capacity. One of the studies, conducted by Oceana — a respected environmental group focused on oceanic issues, revealed that offshore wind power in Atlantic waters could provide about half the electricity needed for the entire East Coast. The study also said that North Carolina, Massachusetts and Delaware could generate all the power they need through offshore wind power alone. Such a massive effort would also create up to 200,000 jobs, based on experience in Europe, where the offshore wind industry is far ahead of ours.

    Part of the problem, frankly, is Americans’ famed ignorance of what happens in the rest of the world. Most of us aren’t aware that wind power isn’t a pie-in-the-sky idea, but is actually being used now to power increasingly large parts of Europe. In September 2010, for instance, Great Britain cranked up the Thanet Offshore Wind Project, the world’s largest offshore wind farm which, when added to the UK’s previous wind power capacity, could power every home in Scotland. The Thanet project cost $1.4 billion, and was financed by an energy fund, which funnels money collected from polluting industries to renewable energy resources. There’s no reason we couldn’t do the same thing here — except that oil and coal lobbyists — and their unwitting supporters among conservatives — would have a fit and kill the idea before it got out of a congressional committee. If we are ever to get off the dime when it comes to wind energy, at some point there has to be an agreement, even if it’s unspoken, to just ignore the brand of neanderthalism that has taken over American conservatism, and get on with the friggin job.

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