According to two recent studies, both forms of offshore energy have the potential to create or sustain thousands of jobs in North Carolina as well as produce an economic benefit into the billions. So the question now becomes, which type of offshore energy will our legislators pursue? On one hand, we have “green” wind while on the other we have oil and natural gas.
In an April report to the Offshore Energy Exploration Study Committee, the State Energy Office estimates that the construction of a 1,000 MW offshore wind farm (roughly 650 turbines) would create approximately 3,000 jobs and have an economic benefit of $1.1 billion.
Whereas according to a study by the Southeast Energy Alliance, construction and development of offshore oil and natural gas stations would create over 6,700 new jobs and add up to $577 million per year to our State budget with $150 billion in revenues for all levels of government.
While this is clearly a battle of which calculation can be more misleading, with numerous additional factors unconsidered, the fact remains that offshore wind farms will likely never be as economically feasible as drilling for oil and natural gas in North Carolina.
The Offshore Energy Exploration Study Committee, meeting today to discuss both options will make recommendations to the General Assembly by next May.