Offshore Wind Joins the Energy Debate


For Immediate Release
April 18, 2012
Offshore Wind Joins the Energy Debate
Forum Brings Notable Speakers to Discuss the Domestic Renewable Energy Resource
RALEIGH, NC - Marcilynn Burke, Acting Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Interior, will be making the opening remarks at the Offshore Wind Forum held at Meredith College tonight.  Ms. Burke oversees the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which has jurisdiction over offshore wind development in federal waters.   The first lease blocks off North Carolina’s coast may become available this year.
Ms. Burke’s participation signals the viability of offshore wind to play a significant role in North Carolina’s energy future, and the coastal region has plenty of it.  Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that North Carolina has the best offshore wind resources of any state on the East coast. 
“Offshore wind can be a tremendous domestic energy resource for  North Carolina,” said Will Morgan, Director of Government Relations for the NC Sierra Club. “Our state can put thousands of people to work and help lessen our dependence on dirty forms of energy like coal by looking at the long term solution that offshore wind provides.”
In March, Ming Yang Wind Power announced that it will be opening a research and development facility in Raleigh.  With companies like ABB, headquartered in Raleigh, and PPG, with offices in Greensboro and Shelby, already manufacturing parts to support land-based wind farms, North Carolina is well-positioned to support a substantial, emerging offshore wind industry.
“Jobs in this industry are already coming to North Carolina, but we are exporting our products to states like Texas and Iowa. It’s time we start building our own future,” added Morgan. “We have a strategic energy reserve right off our coast, and we don’t have to risk an oil spill to get to it.”
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
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
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