Governor Roy Cooper convened a new advisory group of experts yesterday to help the State of North Carolina encourage development of the offshore wind energy industry, the latest milestone showing the state’s commitment to the clean energy economy. The inaugural meeting of the North Carolina Taskforce for Offshore Wind Economic Resource Strategies (NC TOWERS), held in Wilmington and streamed online, brought together thought leaders to collaborate and position the state to take advantage of the emerging multi-billion dollar sector.
“Clean energy, including offshore wind, is not only good for our planet but for our pocketbooks,” said Governor Cooper. “This taskforce brings together government, the private sector, advocates, community leaders and the military to help North Carolina take advantage of the economic opportunities that offshore wind manufacturing and the associated supply chain presents.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce established NC TOWERS per Governor Cooper’s directive in Executive Order No. 218. To help increase North Carolina’s attractiveness to the offshore wind industry, the Order also established offshore wind development goals of 2.8 gigawatts off the North Carolina coast by 2030 and 8.0 gigawatts by 2040.
The NC TOWERS taskforce will provide expert advice to Governor Cooper and state policymakers on ways to advance offshore wind energy projects in North Carolina, with a special focus on economic development and job creation.
Offshore wind development along the U.S. Atlantic Coast – and the accompanying supply chain – present a significant economic opportunity for North Carolina, with an estimated 85,000 new jobs and $140 billion in capital expenditures along the Atlantic Coast by 2035.
“Time is of the essence when we’re talking about offshore wind,” said Governor Cooper. “The earlier we can get into this industry, the more we can reap the benefits from it.”
During yesterday’s meeting, Taskforce members heard key findings and recommendations from the Building North Carolina’s Offshore Wind Supply Chain Report commissioned by the N.C. Department of Commerce. This report examines North Carolina’s opportunity with the offshore wind (OSW) industry, with a particular emphasis on the industry’s supply chain needs and the state’s potential manufacturing role in the industry.
North Carolina is well positioned to attract a significant portion of the jobs and economic investment opportunity that the offshore wind industry presents, according to the report.
“We have the highly skilled workforce, workforce development partners and manufacturing leadership to help support offshore wind development up and down the entire East Coast,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “This means good jobs and economic growth for North Carolina for generations to come.”
Jennifer Mundt, Assistant Secretary of Clean Energy Economic Development for the N.C. Department of Commerce, said North Carolina is entering the offshore wind market at a good time. “Offshore wind is well-established in other parts of the world and more nascent here in the U.S. This means we in North Carolina get to build on the best practices that other parts of the world have developed and be a key part of building the offshore wind industry here at home.”
Duties of the Taskforce include:
- Identify economic and workforce opportunities and challenges presented by the offshore wind industry
- Recommend policies and programs to capture strategic opportunities that foster a thriving offshore wind workforce and business community
- Provide advice for developing the state’s offshore wind supply chain, workforce, and infrastructure
- Foster and support environmental justice and equitable access to opportunities for underserved communities
- Recommend policies and guidelines that prioritize offshore wind energy projects
Taskforce chairwoman, Marqueta Welton, emphasized that group is committed to pursuing the benefits of clean offshore wind energy in a way that serves all North Carolinians.
“Clean energy means healthier communities for all,” said Ms. Welton, who also serves as Chief of Staff of the N.C. Department of Commerce. “Offshore wind energy offers good paying jobs for North Carolinians and economic opportunity for North Carolina businesses and communities. As a taskforce, we’re committed to ensuring that there is equitable access to the opportunities that wind energy provides.”
A recording of the meeting can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/yhlHKGupRBs
For more information on the taskforce, including upcoming meetings and member biographies, visit the NC TOWERS webpage.