The writer is president of the Southeastern Wind Coalition.
When the Inflation Reduction Act was signed this month, North Carolina won the lottery, giving us 369 billion reasons to be optimistic about the good that can be achieved with those dollars. Offshore wind was a clear winner, strengthening our state’s shot at thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in manufacturing, construction and other economic investments.
But those dollars won’t magically appear unless N.C. government leaders plan now to secure funds for programs and projects that will maximize N.C.’s share of the benefits. Our state may be a strong leader in clean energy, but other states are taking concrete steps to attract manufacturers who’ll bring well-paying jobs and economic benefits with them.
To keep up, we need the N.C. Utilities Commission to approve a strong Carbon Plan that reflects the realities of our true offshore wind potential and help meet our climate goals.
This historic package is a game-changer. The cherry on top was the provision that lifted a previous offshore wind leasing moratorium. North Carolina can now forge ahead to compete for a hefty share of the $109 billion offshore wind industry. We were already well-positioned to capitalize on this opportunity due to our strong manufacturing workforce, deep water ports, and robust supply chain industry. Lifting the moratorium unlocks the state’s economic potential.
Providing a stable policy environment allows N.C. businesses to better predict demand and make sound investment decisions, that will allow them to create family-sustaining wages in parts of the state that don’t have as many job opportunities.
North Carolina is already home to manufacturing facilities that make fiberglass fabric for blades (in Huntersville), steel plates for wind turbine towers (Hertford County), and transmission cables (Tarboro). Lifting the moratorium, a strong NC Carbon Plan, Inflation Reduction Act funds, and Gov. Cooper’s commitment to build offshore wind by 2040 are a winning combination for these businesses. It will set N.C. on a direct path to a future where clean wind energy powers our homes, creates jobs and grows local economies.
Katharine Kollins, President of the Southeastern Wind Coalition
This story was originally published August 30, 2022 12:05 PM.