September 18 2012

The Tides of Battle: Fracking vs. Offshore Wind in North Carolina

“Wind Mills, Not Oil Spill, The Environmental and Economic Benefits of Offshore Wind Versus Offshore Drilling in North Carolina” is the name of the directorial manifesto, authored by Environment North Carolina, which will guide North Carolina in its fight against the consequences of Senate Bill 820. The controversial 820, which was passed after numerous vetoes by one vote (upon the error of pressing the wrong button), will open North Carolina’s borders to fracking in two years.

Offshore Wind North Carolina

Despite the bill’s passing, a myriad of stately facts concerning offshore wind’s economic and environmental potential seems to support its implementation. A few outstanding statistics have been compiled from Offshore Wind NC’s website:

  • North Carolina’s shallow-water wind resources are the best on the Atlantic coast, with 58 GW of available capacity;
  • 58 GW amounts to 130% if the state’s energy demands, which are projected to grow 40% over the next 20 years;
  • $2.35 billion is spent annually on the importation of coal into our state, amounting to 55% of our electricity generation;
  • The offshore wind industry stands to create 45,000 jobs in construction, and 9,100 jobs in permanent maintenance over the next 20 years, delivering $22 billion in total economic benefit to our state.

Offshore Wind North Carolina

North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue is heralding the advocacy for the sustainable energy initiative. Her establishment of a scientific panel on offshore energy may attest to that. Other North Carolina power giants, such as Duke and Progress Energy, have expressed support for offshore wind. Urban design, urban planning, landscape architecture, and architecture design in North Carolina may all be expected to face influence from the green undertaking.

Also of interest is the Atlantic Wind Connection, which seeks to establish a “superhighway of clean energy” by connecting offshore wind farms across the east coast.

Fracking and offshore wind have long stood at odds with one another. The former can be seen to represent instant economic growth, and the latter instant environmental protection. Today, which is the more important?

Credits: Image and data linked to sources.

Evan Comen

Evan Comen is an undergraduate at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursuing a B.S. in both Economics and Environmental Studies and a minor in Urban Studies and Planning. A philosophical outlook towards education led his career aspirations to the realm of urban planning, which he intends to foster through completion of a master’s program in the topic post-graduation. Through growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, and attending school in Chapel Hill, Evan has had the fortune of experiencing the unparalleled smart growth of the properly dubbed “Research Triangle”; a region in the Piedmont of North Carolina notorious for its numerously expansive high-tech companies. His blogs principally speak for the area’s burgeoning success. He is also a devoted cinephile, reader, and cyclist.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 at 10:41 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Energy, Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, Government/Politics, Infrastructure, Land Use, Technology, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “The Tides of Battle: Fracking vs. Offshore Wind in North Carolina”

  1. Save the Outer Banks! The Fight for North Carolina’s Coast | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] backlash to the North Carolina legislature’s contentious support for fracking, as presented in my previous article, this piece will review the state’s particular advocacy for “Save the Outer [...]

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