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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Mar 21, 2013 8:06 PM Flag

    5 companies vie to build wind farms off North Carolina coast

    Published: 08:30 PM, Mon Mar 18, 2013
    By Sean Cockerham
    McClatchy Newspapers

    WASHINGTON - Five companies are interested in developing wind farms in the ocean off North Carolina, hoping to take advantage of what could be the East Coast's most promising chance to create energy through giant turbines anchored to the sea floor.

    The idea is embraced by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the Sierra Club alike, who see North Carolina as the next potential center for renewable energy in America. But big obstacles remain before the whirling farms become a reality.

    Offshore wind is an expensive form of energy, and Congress is losing interest in federal subsidies to encourage it. There are no offshore wind farms in the United States, although they're common in Europe.

    The federal government asked companies in December if they'd be interested in North Carolina offshore wind development. Five responded positively in filings released Tuesday. One is Virginia Electric and Power Co., part of the Dominion utility that serves Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.

    "We responded we are interested, but there is a long way to go," Dominion spokesman Dan Genest said. "We are interested. We would like to be a player. There's a lot we have to learn, though."

    The federal government has to finish an environmental study before auctioning the offshore leases. The agency also needs to decide whether to change the areas considered for wind farms in light of newly released public comments. Those include the assertion of the World Shipping Council, a trade association that represents container vessels, that inviting wind farm proposals off Kitty Hawk, N.C., is "dangerous and imprudent" for shipping.

    Two potential development areas are between...

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