Wind Over North Carolina Waters: The State’s Preparedness to Address Offshore and Coastal Water-Based Wind Energy Projects

BY Joseph J. Kalo & Lisa C. Shiavinato

Nationally, there is great interest in placing wind turbines in coastal and ocean waters. At this time, no such facilities exist. However, major projects are either underway or being planned for siting on the east coast. The ocean waters off the coast of North Carolina and the waters of its large internal sounds are attracting interest because of their high wind resource potential. Therefore, the State needs to be adequately prepared to address legal issues and ecological and other concerns that future water-based wind energy proposals will present. In this article, the authors discuss water-based wind energy projects currently under development in the United States, a number of technical limitations affecting the near future prospect of such projects being located in North Carolina coastal or ocean waters, the newly promulgated regulations for leasing the federal outer Continental Shelf for such projects, the necessity of the State being prepared to use the CZMA consistency requirement to protect state interests, and the state’s existing regulatory structure, coastal development rules, and submerged lands leasing statutes impacting water-based wind energy. The authors conclude that if the State wishes to promote this form of renewable energy, certain agency jurisdictional conflicts need to be removed, some coastal development policies need to be modified, and its submerged lands leasing statutes need to be revised. The authors also discuss proposed legislation which would have addressed some of these issues but which failed to pass the North Carolina General Assembly in its 2009 Session. This proposed legislation is likely to be reintroduced in the 2010 Session.

DOWNLOAD PDF | 87 N.C. L. Rev.1819 (2009)