RALEIGH — Earlier this month, Gov. Roy Cooper joined Dominion Energy CEO Robert M. Blue to observe Dominion Energy wind turbines off the coast of Virginia and addressed the third North Carolina Taskforce for Offshore Wind Economic Resource Strategies (NC T.O.W.E.R.S.) meeting in Elizabeth City.
“The potential for reliable, affordable offshore wind energy in North Carolina that grows our economy and benefits our environment has never been stronger,” Cooper said. “The economy is rapidly embracing clean energy and seeing the wind turbines up close underscores how investing in this exciting industry will bring tremendous opportunities to combat climate change, power homes and businesses, and put money in the pockets of North Carolina families.”
“Dominion Energy is at the forefront of offshore wind development in the United States. Our experiences with the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project will help make commercial scale offshore wind a reality in the Mid-Atlantic, to the benefit of our Virginia and North Carolina customers,” said Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy Chair, President and CEO. “Developing this burgeoning industry will create new jobs and economic benefits, while lowering fuel costs for our customers and diversifying our energy supply.”
North Carolina continues to support offshore wind as an opportunity for economic growth and to further the state’s transition toward a clean energy future, according to a recent statement from the North Carolina Department of Commerce. In June 2021, Cooper signed Executive Order No. 218, establishing North Carolina’s offshore wind development goals of 2.8 gigawatts off the North Carolina coast by 2030 and 8.0 GW by 2040. The order also established the NC TOWERS taskforce.
At an Aug. 4 meeting of the NC TOWERS team community members and stakeholders heard details on programs and policies for developing offshore wind energy projects, foster industry relationships throughout the offshore wind supply chain and advance opportunities for equitable access to the economic benefits created by the offshore wind industry.
In June 2022, NC TOWERS released a report highlighting its work and identifying goals for the taskforce in the 2022-2023 year. The taskforce has established four subcommittees to focus on Economic Opportunity and Business Development, Workforce, Education, and Training Opportunity Development, Infrastructure, Environmental Justice, and Inclusion, and Outreach and Engagement.
Cooper issued Executive Order No. 246 in January 2022 to establish next steps in the state’s plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and reaffirm North Carolina’s commitment to a clean energy economy. The order updated North Carolina’s economy-wide carbon reduction emissions goals, increasing the statewide goal to a 50% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, no later than 2050.
In October 2020, Cooper joined the Governors of Virginia and Maryland to sign the SMART-POWER MOU to advance offshore wind development and economic opportunities for the region.