North Carolina governor signs order expanding offshore wind power
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North Carolina governor signs order expanding offshore wind power

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on Wednesday issued an executive order highlighting the state’s “commitment to creating clean energy jobs increasing economic opportunities, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the expansion of offshore wind power.”

Executive Order 218, “Advancing North Carolina’s Economic and Clean Energy Future with Offshore Wind,” formally introduces North Carolina’s first-ever targets for offshore wind procurement, with goals of  “2.8 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy off the North Carolina coast by 2030 and 8.0 GW by 2040.”

The order estimates that offshore wind development along the Atlantic coast of the state will power approximately 2.3 million homes by 2040. Further, the proposed offshore wind development will help achieve goals established in the North Carolina Clean Energy Plan—70% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030 and total carbon neutrality by 2050. The Plan is a result of Executive Order 80, signed by Cooper in 2018, directing the state to integrate clean energy resources to “facilitate the development of a modern and resilient electric grid.”

Beyond setting offshore wind goals, the order establishes the North Carolina Task Force for Offshore Wind Economic Resource Strategies (NC TOWERS) to bolster the state’s Department of Commerce offshore wind economic development.

In a statement, Cooper emphasized the importance of creating jobs and a clean energy economy: “North Carolina’s national leadership in clean energy and manufacturing plus our highly trained workforce create a strong business environment for offshore wind supply chain and manufacturing companies.”

The order represents the latest development following a bipartisan memorandum of understanding between the governors of North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia in October 2020. The memorandum, called the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER), provides a framework under which the three states pledge to “cooperatively promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy generation and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce.”