Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Last Friday the Department of the Interior brought the hammer down in favor of offshore wind energy development in North Carolina.

Clean Power

Whoops! North Carolina Offshore Wind Energy Slips Past Koch Bros Barrier

Last Friday the Department of the Interior brought the hammer down in favor of offshore wind energy development in North Carolina.

It looks like the Koch brothers really are losing their grip. Last Friday, the Department of the Interior brought the hammer down in favor of offshore wind development in North Carolina, where the fossil-friendly industrialist brothers are used to wielding an outsized influence on energy policy. The latest DOI announcement brings the state one step closer to exploiting its considerable offshore resources.

The DOI move caps off a week in which the Koch brothers influence on wind energy policy in Wisconsin also shows signs of slippage.

North Carolina offshore wind energy

Offshore Wind Energy for North Carolina…

Renewable energy fans have long enthused over the vast wealth of offshore wind energy possessed by Atlantic coast states. By some measurements, turbines located in the relatively shallow waters of the Continental Shelf could provide enough electricity to power every city along the eastern seaboard.

The goodies are particularly rich for North Carolina, which is one in a cluster of four mid-southern Atlantic coast states that are positioned for rapid growth. Here’s the rundown from CleanTechnica last year:

The four coastal states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia have 82 percent of the total Atlantic coast wind potential in shallow water…These four states also have some of the lowest construction costs for offshore wind turbines all along the eastern seaboard, and they’re among the largest and fastest-growing electricity markets.

North Carolina did sign on to the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium back in 2010, when DOI announced the initiative to coordinate and speed up development of the nation’s offshore wind resources.

However, since then it’s been six years of cricket chirps, a circumstance that dovetails neatly with the Koch brothers investments in state policy.

In fact, tiny Rhode Island — which seems to be one of the few states to have slipped under the Koch radar — has been leading the offshore wind energy pack.

Rhode Island nailed down the first “steel in the water” title for a US state when construction started last year for the Block Island wind farm.

The 30-megawatt project is on track to get up and running later this year.

…Like It Or Not

Despite the Koch influence in North Carolina and elsewhere along the Atlantic seaboard (New Jersey is another notorious example), DOI has been forging ahead with a program of lease sales in designated Wind Energy Areas, in waters managed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Here’s the rundown from DOI:

To date, BOEM has awarded 11 commercial offshore wind leases, including nine through the competitive lease sale process (two offshore New Jersey, two in an area offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts, another two offshore Massachusetts, two offshore Maryland and one offshore Virginia).

So far the program has leased more than one million acres of federal waters.

The new DOI lease announcement puts North Carolina next in line for wind energy development, by proposing a new lease sale for the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area.

Kitty Hawk was designated back in 2014 as a 122,405 acre site:

This WEA begins about 24 nautical miles from shore and extends about 25.7 nautical miles in a general southeast direction. Its seaward extent ranges from 13.5 nautical miles in the north to .6 of a nautical mile in the south. It contains 21.5 Outer Continental Shelf blocks.

For those of you keeping score at home, DOI also outlined two other WEAs for North Carolina in 2014. They did not disappear — these two sites will be included in a forthcoming offshore lease sale for another wind energy holdout, South Carolina.

Things will be moving along at a rapid clip following Friday’s announcement. DOI will publish its “Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) and Request for Interest (RFI) for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North Carolina” in the Federal Register on August 16.

That will kickstart a 60-day public comment period ending in mid-October, so stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter and Google+.

Image (cropped): North Carolina’s Kitty Hawk offshore wind area via US Department of the Interior.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Spoutible.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

By addressing equity issues, RMI’s Solarize cohorts have made rooftop solar and lower electricity bills available to more people around the country. Shaketia Simpson...

Policy & Politics

The US Supreme Court has turned aside five appeals from fossil fuel companies which do not want to be sued in state courts.

Clean Power

A rate modification for solar customers in North Carolina was recently approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC). This has an impact on...


USMC Base Camp Lejeune has become a national solar energy and energy storage showcase featuring new LFP battery technology.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.