This blog post was co-written by SACE Renewable Energy Manager Simon Mahan and Coastal Climate & Energy Manager Chris Carnevale. North Carolina’s first offshore wind lease sale was held today and Avangrid Renewables was named provisional winner of the lease sale, having offered the high bid of $9,066,650, outbidding three other companies. As the provisional [...]
Tomorrow will mark the first lease sale for offshore wind off of North Carolina’s coast. We thought it may be useful to explain what this means and what the process looks like going forward for offshore wind in North Carolina. Below, we will discuss some of the basics about the lease sale, including what exactly it is, where it will cover, what the winner of the lease will and won’t be able to do with the lease, and what comes next in the process. We hope you find this a helpful guide.
A new market report by the American Wind Energy Association shows that 2016 was a record breaker for the wind industry. And signs are pointing to an equally aggressive 2017. With a total of 8,203 MW of wind energy capacity commissioned during the year, the majority of projects were completed in the last three months. The United States now contains more than 82,000 megawatts of wind power. That’s enough power for the equivalent of roughly 25 million homes.
The first-ever lease sale for offshore wind off the Carolinas’ coast has been scheduled for March 16, 2017. The lease sale will allow interested development companies to bid on the rights to site assessment activities to gauge the suitability of the area for offshore wind development. The area to be leased is known as the Kitty Hawk leasing area, and lies approximately 24 nautical miles off of North Carolina’s coast (depicted in orange in the map to the right). This announcement follows the identification of the area in August 2014 and the proposal of the sale last August. Development of offshore wind could bring substantial benefits to North Carolina.
It’s been quite the summer for U.S. offshore wind power! Following months of unprecedented progress in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the Obama Administration released a strategy today that charts a collective path forward for the U.S. to seize the immense clean energy potential off our shores.
The Green Party recently announced its 2016 presidential candidate: Dr. Jill Stein. Stein was the party’s nominee in 2012, but this year she hopes to benefit from higher levels of voter discontent in order to lead her to the White House. The Green Party has developed a “four pillar” platform based on “peace, ecology, social justice and democracy.” While this blog is not meant to be a comprehensive assessment of Dr. Jill Stein’s stance on energy issues, we hope it provides a general overview for evaluating where she may stand on issues of interest to energy-focused voters: coal, climate change, renewables, efficiency, natural gas, nuclear and drilling.
This post is the second in a series of blogs examining where 2016 candidates for President or Governor of North Carolina stand on key energy issues. Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.
Where the 2016 Candidates Stand on Energy Issues: Donald Trump
Finally, the WIND Toolkit helps eliminate any guesswork by wind energy advocates regarding newly proposed wind farm projects. Using the old 50 meter, 80 meter or 100 meter wind speed maps use to be the only way the public had any sense of what “good” wind resources looked like. However, those maps always proved too coarse for the average viewer to interpret accurately. Anti-wind activists frequently used outdated maps, some even dating back to the 1980s, to make a case against wind energy. The WIND Toolkit can now provide better analysis for stakeholders interested in learning more about wind energy. As a quick case study, the image below shows the results of the WIND Toolkit query compared to a 100 meter wind speed map in Northeastern North Carolina. The WIND Toolkit shows an average wind speed of approximately 7 meters-per-second (15.7 MPH), but the 100 meter wind map shows speeds of <6 m/s (13.4MPH). That 1 m/s difference results in the difference between a 30% capacity factor and a 40% capacity factor, based on the WIND Toolkit's power curve. In real terms, that is a 33% improvement in capacity factor. North Carolina's first wind farm recently broke ground in that region, and reports suggest average capacity factors of that wind farm to be near 40% – very similar to the results of the WIND Toolkit.
Georgia Tech’s Center for Geographic Information Systems and Strategic Energy Institute has partnered with the Georgia DNR Coastal Resources Division to launch a new marine planning application called the Georgia Coastal and Marine Planner (GCAMP). GCAMP provides online access to data regarding coastal and ocean resources, which can help facilitate Georgia’s management of these resources in regards to offshore wind energy.