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Interior Department to review proposal for first wind power project off North Carolina coast

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Offshore wind turbines, a source of renewable energy.

The Interior Department is set to conduct an environmental review of a proposed wind energy project that, if approved, would be the first off the coast of North Carolina, the department announced Thursday.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Thursday that it will conduct an environmental impact statement for the proposal, which would make landfall in Virginia Beach and could at some point provide power to Virginia as well.

The proposal, submitted by Kitty Hawk Wind LLC, would include as many as 69 turbine generators as well as two transmission cables making landfall in Virginia Beach and an offshore substation.

“Offshore wind is a critical component of this Administration’s commitment to confronting climate change, creating thousands of good-paying union jobs, and jump starting our country’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “These states are stepping up and working together to lift up this growing industry. At the Interior Department, we are doing our part to ensure all of these projects are done thoughtfully and with consideration of impacts to surrounding communities.”

“The full economic benefits of offshore wind energy can only be realized if we all come together to advance responsible development of offshore wind,” Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Amanda Lefton said in a statement. “If approved, the Kitty Hawk offshore wind project will not only provide clean, reliable energy where it is needed most, it will help boost the region as a manufacturing and supply chain hub for the offshore wind industry.”

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will allow 30 days of public comment on the proposal.

The state has set a goal of 2.8 gigawatts in offshore wind energy by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040, a goal that North Carolina officials have projected would bring power to more than 2 million people by the latter date. Virginia, meanwhile, passed legislation in 2020 setting a target of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045, including 5.2 gigawatts of offshore wind by the mid-2030s.

The Biden administration has vowed to develop 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by decade’s end.

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