Offshore wind forum to highlight NC’s potential

With the federal government set to identify suitable areas of the Atlantic Ocean for offshore wind farms, a federal official will be in Raleigh next week to give a status update on the review.

The offshore wind forum, to be held at Meredith College on April 18, will feature wind power advocates, academics, government officials and a documentary film maker.

Marcilynn Burke, acting assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Interior, will provide an update on her agency’s review of acceptable sea waters for wind power development. Burke oversees the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which handles offshore wind leases.

Last year the bureau restricted large portions of the ocean as unsuitable for development because they conflicted with military, environmental, shipping or other priorities. That decision disqualified waters selected by a wind developer for a potential offshore wind project that will now have to be relocated to another part of the ocean, once the feds identify appropriate tracts.

Also speaking at the forum will be John Williams, assistant secretary for Energy, N.C. Department of Commerce; Brian O’Hara, president of the N.C. Offshore Wind Coalition; John Bane, professor of Marine Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill; and Art Howard, a photographer and videographer who will preview a video he made for an upcoming PBS segment for Earth Day.

The presentations are free and will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m at the Kresge Auditorium, 3800 Hillsborough St.


Written by John Murawsi, Raleigh New & Observer