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Gov. Roy Cooper speaks at Duke about North Carolina’s energy legislation progress

Gov. Roy Cooper explained how his administration has been making progress on energy legislation at a Duke conference on offshore wind energy on Friday.

The conference, called “Winds of Change: Tracking the Development of U.S. Offshore Wind Energy,” brought together wind energy developers, government officials, non-governmental organization representatives and other stakeholders to “explore the challenges and opportunities for offshore wind development on the Atlantic Coast in the next decade.”

It was co-hosted by the Nicholas School of the Environment; Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability; and Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment at the Fuqua School of Business.

Brian Murray, interim director for the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, gave opening remarks, followed by President Vincent Price, who emphasized the conference supports the Duke Climate Commitment, which aims to unite the University’s education, research, operations and public service missions to address the climate crisis.

“Through our Marine Lab in Beaufort, deep expertise across our schools of the environment, engineering and business, and engagement by the Nicholas Institute, Duke is leading an ocean centered approach to energy transformation research,” Price said.

Both Murray and Price mentioned Duke’s Project Wildlife and Offshore Wind, whose purpose is to develop a data foundation and risk assessment framework for addressing potential effects of offshore wind development on marine wildlife, according to Murray.

“We're seeking to unify our efforts and amplify interdisciplinary climate and sustainability work across our campus, offering every member of the Duke community an opportunity to engage,” Price said.

Price then introduced Cooper, who gave an overview of how his administration is tackling renewable energy. Cooper stated that North Carolinians have unfortunately had a “front row seat in the devastation that climate change can bring.” 

“The need for reliable clean energy that offshore wind can produce has never been greater,” Cooper said.

Cooper explained that he signed Executive Order 218 in June 2020 “specifically to advance North Carolina offshore wind development.” The order set development goals of 2.8 gigawatts by 2030 and eight gigawatts by 2040, which is enough power to enough to power roughly 2.3 million homes, according to Cooper.

“Our Department of Commerce has launched the North Carolina Task Force for Offshore Wind Economic Resources Strategy, or NCTowers, which already includes a diverse group of stakeholders,” Cooper said.

Cooper also stated that he signed Executive Order 80 in 2018 to reduce the carbon emissions in the power sector by 70% by 2030, with carbon neutrality by 2050. Those mandates were included in House Bill 951, a bipartisan law that Cooper signed at the end of 2021 — making North Carolina the second state in the southeast to put carbon reduction requirements into law.

“We've also looked beyond our state's borders. In October 2020. I joined the governors in Virginia and Maryland to sign the Smart Power MOU,” Cooper said. “And this week my Department of Commerce entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Danish energy agencies to support the responsible development of offshore wind in our state.”

The offshore wind industry and its supply chain representents a potential $100 billion in economic investments across North Carolina, will create more jobs for North Carolinians and will provide clean renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of North Carolina homes and businesses, Cooper said.

“For decades, North Carolina has resolved to stay on the cutting edge of global challenges,” Cooper said. “North Carolina is always ready for the next big thing,” he said.

Cooper also mentioned the House and Senate’s monumental agreement on Thursday to expand Medicaid in North Carolina to 600,000 people.

“I'm proud that we've been able to get to this point. We've still got to get it across the finish line in time to take advantage of all the federal money that we have. But it's so important for our state,” Cooper said.

Katie Tan profile
Katie Tan | Managing Editor

Katie Tan is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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