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Governor Cooper Issues Statement on Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Decision Impacting North Carolina and Biden Administration Offshore Wind Energy Goals

NORTH CAROLINA, August 4 - Today, Governor Roy Cooper issued the following statement in response to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s recent notification of final wind energy areas in the Central Atlantic Call Area that excluded areas of the coast of North Carolina.

“While this decision is extremely disappointing, it will not slow North Carolina’s momentum in reaching our offshore wind energy goals as we transition to a clean energy economy,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “The Biden-Harris Administration and North Carolina have outlined strong goals to increase offshore wind energy generation and this decision jeopardizes both plans. North Carolina remains committed to becoming the nation’s leader in offshore wind energy and stands ready to work with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to identify alternative solutions to solve this problem.”

North Carolina is committed to building out the supply chain and workforce necessary to be the nation’s leader in offshore wind energy with more than 232,496 acres already leased off our coast for offshore wind development. Governor Cooper and state officials stand ready to work with BOEM to identify additional WEAs that will allow North Carolina to meet its offshore wind goals.

In 2021, Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 218 that reaffirmed North Carolina’s commitment to offshore wind power as the state transitions to a clean energy economy and established offshore wind development goals of 2.8 gigawatts off the North Carolina coast by 2030 and 8.0 GW by 2040. Achieving these goals would power roughly 2.3 million homes across the state by 2040 and create thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs. In addition to creating economic benefits across North Carolina, these offshore wind goals would help reach the statutory requirements of 2021’s House Bill 951, which requires a 70% reduction in power sector greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

President Biden has also set offshore wind goals at 30 GW by 2030 and 110 GW by 2050 – enough to power more than 10 million American homes with clean energy by 2030 while creating good-paying jobs across manufacturing, shipbuilding, port operations, construction, and other industries.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in the Department of the Interior is directed to work with federal, state, and local stakeholders to identify areas off the coast of the United States that are suitable for the responsible development of offshore wind energy projects. As part of this work, BOEM identified potential wind energy areas (WEAs) in the central Atlantic – the Central Atlantic Call Area – including two potential WEAs off North Carolina’s coast.

Since February 2022, Representatives of Governor Cooper’s Administration have called upon BOEM to identify regions of the Central Atlantic Call Area off North Carolina’s coast sufficient to develop 8 GW of offshore wind by 2040 – the goal set out in Executive Order 218. Advancing North Carolina’s offshore wind goals would also contribute to President Biden’s offshore wind goals.

North Carolina specifically encouraged BOEM to collaborate with the State and with all interested stakeholders in this effort to meet North Carolina’s and President Biden’s offshore wind goals. North Carolina also encouraged BOEM to engage with the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs as BOEM was completing its assessment of the Central Atlantic Call Area. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that BOEM did those things.

On Monday July 31, 2023, BOEM announced the three final WEAs for further study in the Central Atlantic Call Area. Those three WEAs are located offshore from Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia – and not offshore from North Carolina. A 30-day comment period is open for stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed final WEAs.