Panel reviews offshore energy options for NC
Posted September 20, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — A panel of scientists and industry experts on offshore energy opportunities in North Carolina have found a few options worth exploring that do not involve drilling for oil or natural gas, according to a preliminary report released Tuesday.
Gov. Bev Perdue’s Scientific Advisory Panel on Offshore Energy had a two-year window to come up with recommendations on the feasibility and benefit analysis of drilling, wind, solar and ocean thermal conversion.
Members studied current laws, rules, processes and procedures that affect the use of offshore energy resources, such as federal leasing programs, state and federal permitting programs and local zoning and ordinances.
The panel found that giant wind turbines would likely be the least intrusive option and could go a long way in meeting the state's electricity needs.
Thermal conversion, which is the process of producing energy through the difference in warmer and colder ocean water, was also an option worth exploring, the report stated.
Some of the panel’s predictions suggest there might be enough oil or gas to justify the costs of drilling off the North Carolina coast.
“The cost and benefits of each of these things must be weighed in terms of making decisions about what makes sense for North Carolina. I think justifying additional drilling now in North Carolina is a real challenge,” said Doug Rader of the Environmental Defense Fund.
A final version of the panel’s report will be sent to Perdue for her consideration.