This page has information about proposed North Carolina offshore wind energy development. If you have questions about any of this, or have other material that should be included, or find any errors here, or would like to be on our email list, please email John Droz.
Make sure to look at the rest of this WiseEnergy.org website (see menus above), as there are several hundred studies and reports about the negative economic, environmental and technical consequences of industrial wind energy. Several videos worth watching are here.
Make sure to also check out our page of some North Carolina laws, proposed legislation, pertinent agencies, etc. as many of these directly apply to offshore wind energy. To keep current with what’s going on with this matter, please periodically check back here for updates.
Quickie overview: The federal government, BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) has been aggressively promoting offshore wind development for the US coastline, including NC. This will likely consist of 600± foot tall industrial turbines — which would be the tallest turbines in the US. [Note: How huge is 600 feet?]
There have been multiple proposals for offshore wind development off the NC Coast. After some “reviews” BOEM “reduced” these to two large areas: near Wilmington, and near Kill Devil Hills. See this BOEM NC offshore wind history for more details.
Our position is that alternative energy sources should be encouraged — but none should be permitted on the public grid until a scientific assessment proves that they are a NET societal benefit. No such scientific assessment exists for wind energy! In fact the evidence from studies done by independent experts conclude that wind energy is a net economics and environmental loser. See below (and read through this website — esp EnergyPresentation.Info) for more details.
A NC law (H484) was passed in 2013, which sets up the first statewide wind energy permitting process. The NCDEQ (formerly DENR) is the lead agency. As explained on our NC Wind Energy Information page, H484 is a very weak law, that provides only minimal protections — and will likely not apply to offshore wind projects located in federal waters. Partly due to that, the NCDEQ Secretary sent BOEM a 2015 letter spelling out the state’s official (and very reasonable) position on offshore wind energy: that turbines should be 24+ nautical miles from the shore. To their credit, the Village of Bald Head Island (BHI) passed a formal resolution in 2015, advocating the same protection. The BHI Homeowners Association also passed a resolution opposing offshore wind.
BTW, a few years ago, two NC law scholars wrote a report on what the state should do to be better prepared for offshore wind energy — and much of this has yet to be done. See “Wind over NC Waters — the State’s Preparedness to Address Offshore Wind Energy Projects.” As such we are largely at the mercy of the federal government (to protect our eco-systems, economic interests, etc.).
Some Offshore Wind Economic Realities —
Brookings Report: Economically, Wind and Solar Are Our Worst Options
Energy Expert: Offshore Wind has Over-promised
Sample Reports about the New Jersey Experience (Fisherman Wind Project)…
A 2008 New Jersey Study concludes that offshore wind is a net economics and jobs loser
A 2012 NJ Study (2nd consultant) concludes that offshore wind is a net economics and jobs loser
A 2012 NJ Study (3rd consultant) concludes that offshore wind is a net economics and jobs loser
Sample Reports about the Massachusetts Experience (Cape Wind Project)…
Does Cape Wind Make Sense? (a slide presentation)
For more about wind energy financials, see our economics page.
Some Offshore Wind Environmental Realities —
For more about wind energy eco-system impacts, see our environmental page.