The North Carolina Department of Commerce has identified and hired an experienced, international consulting company to help the agency assess North Carolina’s potential as an offshore wind industry hub. BVG Associates, headquartered near London with offices in Glasgow, Scotland, Boston, and Richmond, Virginia will help the Department research and develop an 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.
“Moving to a clean energy economy will bring new jobs and economic growth to North Carolina,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “The Commerce Department’s study will gather the information and insights we need to prepare our infrastructure and our workforce for the future opportunities this promising industry offers us.”
The North Carolina Office of Science, Technology, & Innovation, an operating unit of the Commerce Department, recently completed a competitive bid process to find an experienced consulting partner to help conduct an industry supply chain and infrastructure assessment. BVG Associates, which developed a similar study for the State of Virginia, competed against twelve other firms for the engagement. The team of experts that will work on the North Carolina assessment also includes representatives from Lloyds Register Energy Americas, Timmons Group, and North Carolina State University.
“North Carolina is well positioned to support utility-scale wind energy,” said John Hardin, Executive Director of N.C. Commerce’s Office of Science, Technology, & Innovation. “The new study will help us focus our efforts on the segments of the industry that are well matched to the strengths of our state.”
North Carolina already features one approved Wind Energy Area (WEA) under lease for development. The Kitty Hawk WEA, located 24 nautical miles from Corolla, is projected to be able to support 2,500 megawatts of electricity generation which would be enough to power approximately 700,000 homes.
“It is thrilling to see more states embrace offshore wind, particularly along the Southern East Coast,” said Liz Burdock, CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, the only organization in the U.S. dedicated to growing offshore wind and its supply chain. “North Carolina is an important market in terms of the development of offshore wind because circumstances allow for streamlined adoption of a new, growing industry – an industry that will launch numerous new careers, provide affordable power, and ignite a boom of a blue economy in the region. This announcement demonstrates that offshore wind makes sense economically and is a viable solution, particularly for growing states.”
The North Carolina offshore wind (OSW) supply chain and infrastructure report will help identify and explain the nature of the existing businesses, organizations, and infrastructure in the state that can support the growing OSW industry. The report will show how North Carolina can successfully position itself to compete in OSW, as well as pinpoint the state’s advantages for key OSW industry segments such as blades, towers, wind turbines (nacelles), substation manufacturing and related equipment manufacturing, as well as project management and development, and construction staging.
The effort also sends an important signal to OSW developers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that North Carolina is committed to the industry, both as a location for wind energy projects as well as an ideal manufacturing location for projects along the entire eastern seaboard.
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.