The North Carolina Department of Commerce has launched a comprehensive project to assess the state’s inventory of businesses, organizations, and physical infrastructure best positioned to promote offshore wind development in North Carolina. The move is the latest step in Governor Roy Cooper’s far-reaching commitment to build a clean energy economy to fight climate change and grow clean-energy jobs in North Carolina.
To produce the supply chain report, the North Carolina Office of Science, Technology, & Innovation, an operating unit of the Commerce Department, recently issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking an experienced consulting partner to help the Department develop and publish the study. The state’s procurement solicitation can be reviewed online at the North Carolina Interactive Purchasing System. Responses are due back to the Department by June 22, with a contract award expected shortly thereafter.
“Our state enjoys one of the east coast’s strongest natural resources for utility-scale wind energy, and our heritage in manufacturing guarantees we can provide the trained workforce to support this growing sector of the nation’s economy,” said North Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland.
The supply chain and infrastructure assessment will identify strengths and opportunities to prepare the state to serve the specialized needs of the wind energy industry. The study will also identify new opportunities to both develop commercial-grade wind energy off the North Carolina coast as well as supply wind energy facilities along the entire eastern seaboard.
“We applaud the leadership of the state of North Carolina in moving forward to harness this once-in-a-generation opportunity that offshore wind energy is bringing to coastal communities up and down the Atlantic seaboard,” said Laura Morton, Offshore Wind Senior Director for the American Wind Energy Association. “As a result, North Carolinians across the state can expect to experience benefits that come with offshore wind such as an increase in local well-paying jobs, economic investments to revitalize port infrastructures, more affordable, stabilized electricity costs, and improved environmental conditions.”
The new assessment is part of the ongoing work to implement Governor Cooper’s Clean Energy Plan for the state.
In October 2018, Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 80 to reaffirm North Carolina’s commitment to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions and support the expansion of clean energy businesses. Among other actions, the executive order directed the Department of Commerce to support the expansion of clean energy businesses and service providers, encourage clean technology investment, and support companies seeking to procure renewable energy. On October 1, 2019, the Department of Commerce published an extensive workforce assessment for the clean energy and clean transportation industry sectors. That assessment noted that North Carolina has strong potential to develop offshore wind energy and support considerable job growth in that industry.
The offshore wind supply chain and infrastructure report is expected to be published later this year.