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Panel reviews offshore energy options for NC

Posted September 20, 2011

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— 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.

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  • hp277 Sep 21, 2011

    There is a lot of potential in offshore wind, and the state is wise to be exploring this.

    The towers would be miles offshore - over the horizon from the beach. The idea of massive bird strikes is overblown - these are windmills, not propellers.

    We need to have a variety of power sources feeding the grid, not just dirty fossil fuels and nuclear power that produces waste that's dangerous for centuries.

  • hi_i_am_wade Sep 20, 2011

    No wind power stations! And not because it would be an eyesore.

    Companies put up wind farms and get government subsidies for doing so. There is no government subsidy for maintaining wind farms. Because of the size of wind turbines, they are hard to maintain. So what happens is the wind turbine falls into disrepair and produces no electricity because it is cheaper, thanks to subsidies, to put new wind turbines up than to fix the old ones.

    Wind power has many problems. Off shore it won't cause health problems to nearby residents from the rhythmic turning. But it will kill many birds. Wind farms are really bird slaughterhouses. If that wasn't bad enough, wind power requires the wind to blow neither too fast nor too slow. And because of the inconsistent nature of wind, it always requires a more reliable backup: nuclear, gas, or coal.

    Finally, never ever trust an environmental group with the truth, especially the EDF. Big Oil is *by far* more ethical than Big Environment.