North Carolina has entered an international agreement to access new resources and expertise from the nation that built the world’s first offshore wind farm, advancing North Carolina’s development of a clean energy economy.
North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders and Director General Kristoffer Bottzauw of the Danish Energy Agency signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies earlier this morning. The agreement, known as the Cooperation on Offshore Wind Energy and Related Sectors agreement, will greatly enhance North Carolina’s ability to responsibly develop offshore wind energy.
“The knowledge, data and best practices accumulated by the Danish Energy Agency’s more than 30 years of offshore wind energy experience provides countless benefits to our state as we open opportunities with this growing industry,” said Secretary Sanders. “As we work to responsibly develop North Carolina’s offshore wind industry, I value the expertise and new resources this partnership brings to my department and the people of North Carolina.
“Like Denmark, North Carolina is committed to building a clean energy system and has set important offshore wind targets,” says Kristoffer Böttzauw, Director General at the Danish Energy Agency. “As part of this journey, North Carolina has begun building a supply chain and workforce within offshore wind. In Denmark, we have built a wind supply chain over the past three decades which currently employs approximately 30,000 people. We are very much looking forward to sharing our experiences with North Carolina on building the workforce, supply chain and infrastructure needed to support offshore wind.”
Denmark is the global pioneer of offshore wind, establishing the Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm in 1991.
Today, nearly half of the electricity produced in Denmark comes from wind turbines – both on and offshore.
The offshore wind industry – and its supply chain – represent a potential $140 billion in economic investment along the east coast of the United States. North Carolina is favorably positioned to attract a large share of this investment, supporting tens-of-thousands of family-sustaining jobs for North Carolinians, and clean, renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of North Carolina homes and businesses, according to a report released by the N.C. Department of Commerce in 2021.
This Memorandum of Understand comes at an important time for North Carolina as the state works to transition to a clean energy economy.
North Carolina and Denmark aim to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.
Denmark has a goal of a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. North Carolina has similar goal under bipartisan legislation enacted in 2021. House Bill 951 calls for a 70 percent reduction in carbon emissions from the energy sector by 2030. And it calls for carbon neutrality from energy production by 2050.
Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 218 established North Carolina’s offshore wind development goals of 2.8 gigawatts by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040. Eight gigawatts is enough to power more than 2.3 million homes across our state.
To reach these goals, North Carolina and the Danish Energy Agency intend to share best practices, conduct missions with government officials, and identify and evaluate the economic benefits associated with the responsible development of the offshore wind energy sector in North Carolina.
This MOU will be implemented through a working group with participants from North Carolina and Denmark.