North Carolina Governor Signs Executive Order Promoting Offshore Wind and Clean Energy Jobs

Source: RL Martin

On June 9, 2021 North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 218, which details the state’s commitment to developing an offshore wind energy sector and local job creation to support this new industry. The Order requires the state to “strive for the development of 2.8 GW of offshore wind resources off the North Carolina coast by 2030 and 8.0 GW by 2040.”

“Offshore wind power will help North Carolina create jobs and generate economic development while helping us transition to a clean energy economy,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “North Carolina’s national leadership in clean energy and manufacturing plus our highly trained workforce create a strong business environment for offshore wind supply chain and manufacturing companies.”

In addition to setting development targets, the Order creates a whole of government approach to offshore wind, with specific directives to address economic development, environmental protection, and military interests by the state’s Department of Commerce (DEC), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, respectively. Specifically, DEQ will help align these efforts with the state’s Clean Energy Plan and coordinate with the federal government to advance offshore wind development. DEC will identify workforce and supply chain needs and opportunities, and work to maximize the economic value of these projects for the state. 

This Executive Order builds on recommendations from the North Carolina Clean Energy Plan, released by the DEQ in October 2019. This plan was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. Some key recommendations within that plan were to decarbonize the electric power sector and pursue offshore wind development as a source of clean energy and economic growth.

Additionally, in late 2020, Governor Cooper signed a bi-partisan Memorandum of Understanding (SMART-POWER) with the Governors of Virginia and Maryland to cooperatively promote and expand opportunities for offshore wind in the mid-Atlantic coastline. This Executive Order affirms North Carolina’s commitment to SMART-POWER by directing representatives from DEQ and DEC to support its work.