U.S. seeks proposals for offshore wind projects

By on December 13, 2012

(U.S. Department of Energy)

By Frank Tursi
Coastal Review Online

In what’s seen as a significant first step toward developing wind energy off the N.C. coast, the federal government has asked for project proposals for three offshore areas, one off the Outer Banks and two near Wilmington.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, part of the U.S. Department of Interior, has identified an area 6 miles off Kitty Hawk and two areas 7 to 13 miles from Cape Fear as having potential for commercial wind energy. The three areas total about 1,400 square miles.

This week’s “Call for Information and Nominations” is meant to gauge the industry’s interest in developing wind projects in the areas. It will be followed with a formal announcement in the Federal Register along with a request for public comments for the environmental assessment that will be done on wind-energy development in the any of the three areas.

These are the first steps in the federal planning process that could lead to leasing all or part of the areas to companies that would build the giant wind turbines.

North Carolina is considered to have to strongest and most consistent wind on the East Coast for commercial wind-energy development. Studies have concluded that if it were harnessed to make electricity that wind could theoretically supply all of the state’s energy needs.

“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,” Gov. Beverly Perdue said yesterday in a press 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.”

Following the formal announcement in the Federal Register, the bureau will accept public comments for 45 days about environmental and social issues that should be addressed in the assessment. Comments can be transmitted electronically. Click on the “Open Comment Documents” link and follow the instructions to view relevant materials and submit comments.

Comments can also be mailed to The Office of Renewable Energy Programs,
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, Va., 20170-4817.

The bureau will soon schedule public information meetings to provide additional opportunities to comment. Once scheduled, information about the public information meetings will be found online.

Other East Coast states have already gone through this process, and leasing has moved forward in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia, noted Zak Keith, the offshore wind coordinator for the N.C. Sierra Club.

“The bottom line is that we are one step closer to developing North Carolina’s tremendous wind resource off our coast,” he said in a press release. “We have a strategic energy reserve right off our coast and we don’t have to risk an oil spill to get to it.”

On the cover: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo.

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February 16, 2013 4:07 am

I prefer the wind industry to the fracking industry currently poisoning drinking water across the country.

Bob Samuels

December 20, 2012 7:13 am

This is awesome! Hopefully Dominion or Duke Energy will jump on this right away; if not some European company might reap the rewards.
This renewable energy source has very little environmental impact and the turbines pay for themselves within 10 years; the ones I have researched are guranteed by the manufacturers to last 25 years – that’s 15 of net profit to the company who pursues this endeavor.
To …Says, I believe that a transition line is laid along the ocean floor to the mainland where the energy produced (sub-station) feeds directly into the grid – no storage necessary.


December 17, 2012 6:07 pm

A reliable way to store energy produced by windmills might be the first step before thinking about building them.

For some reason I foresee a SELC lawsuit in the future with this one.


December 16, 2012 8:20 pm


The private sector is investing in renewable energy.

I’m not a liberal or a liar, and I’m a bigger man than to call someone names on the Internet. You folks should get out more. Keep buying those bullets. . . I hear the liberals are coming to take them away.

byn bullets

December 16, 2012 11:45 am

James is a LYING LIBERAL! There is no proof of Fracking messing with the water table, they’re saying this because fracking works so well! PS The brits just tore down 3 wind fields because they were not cost efficient. @ Jeff RIGHT ON!!!!


December 15, 2012 2:40 pm

to Will we do not need these massive macines off the coast these don keotaes windmills are not an answer to the problem. We need to tap the gas supplies under the coast!!!!! This is a clean fuel and no polution I will; not use any other fuel other than GAS.


December 15, 2012 2:37 pm

James, Do some research, wind and solar combined account for 2% of our electricity at 4 times the cost. It is not dependable, plentiful, or affordable. Just ask yourself this, if there was money to be made why isn’t the private sector investing in it.


December 15, 2012 10:35 am

This is a great step in the right direction. Wind farms have proven extremely effective across the US and rest of the world. It sounds like quite a bit of research has been done to pick and choose the most optimal locations for the turbines.

I hope folks can dive and fish on them too. And to the naysayers, this is a project that will bring clean energy jobs to NC. I prefer the wind industry to the fracking industry currently poisoning drinking water across the country. And with oil drilling, consider what a spill would do to our beaches and tourism industry.


December 15, 2012 12:54 am

why are yall talking about drilling? the article is about wind energy

byn bullets

December 14, 2012 4:59 pm

Some people really think this is going to make their power bill blow away, Just like those solar panels we all have on our roofs RIGHT! DRILL BABY DRILL


December 14, 2012 7:19 am

Let them drill of the N.C.coast. If there is a vast supply as they say there is at least gas is a clean fuel


December 13, 2012 3:01 pm

will you be allowed to fish next to them or will it be off limits?

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