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Published: Friday 02 August, 2013

michael michael kors hamilton michael michael kors hamilton Feds to map offshore NC for wind energy farms

North Carolina is inching closer to developing what could be one of the world largest offshore wind energy farms.

A federal task force on offshore wind energy is holding its first meeting tomorrow in Wilmington with the goal of identifying suitable areas of the Atlantic Ocean that can be developed for wind energy.

This state is considered to have some of the nation best offshore wind resources, but it not clear which sections can be developed without inter michael michael kors hamilton fering with the environment, tourism and shipping routes.

Already one company, Oute michael michael kors hamilton r Banks Ocean Energy Corp., has plans to develop a 350megawatt offshore wind farm, which could generate enough power for more than 100,000 homes. Others are expected to follow in the coming years as the federal government identifies which areas offshore are suitable for development.

In this state, attempts to develop commercialscale wind projects in the mountains and in coastal areas, with turbines as tall as skyscrapers, have been shot down amid massive opposition.

Offshore wind energy, as far as 25 miles from the coastline, would eliminate most esthetic concerns because the projects would not be visible from land. However, offshore wind farms would face a host of challenges comparable to those facing building new nuclear plants, including high costs, environmental concerns and public opposition. But private developers and government officials are betting on a growing demand in this country for clean electricity that doesn generate greenhouse gases. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMER, will identify suitable areas for development in blocs measuring 3 miles square. universities and private industry.

BOEMER is going through a similar process in 16 other states, including Virginia and South Carolina. The bureau is looking at areas to develop wind farms as well as ocean current technologies that generate power from the movement of ocean waves.

The Outer Banks project would start with 100 to 150 turbines, each 400 feet tall. It could take a decade to develop this first phase, and the project could ultimately expand to 1,900 megawatts, enough to power about 500,000 homes, said Rob Propes, the Wake Forestbased development manager for Apex Wind Energy in Charlottesville, Va., which owns the Outer Banks project.

Propes said the project would employ hundreds of people during construction and would also require a regular maintenance staff that would visit the turbines by boat for 45 hours of annual upkeep.

Apex Wind Energy has identified over 200 square miles for potential development about 20 miles off the coast of North Carolina, but it not clear how much of that area will be approved for development.

About the bloggerJohn Murawski has been a fulltime newspaper reporter since 1991, with stints at Legal Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy both in Washington, DC, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Palm Beach Post in South Florida before arriving at the N in December 2004. At the N he covers energy nuclear, coal, renewable, efficiency, hydraulic fracturing or fracking, public utilities and health care. His beat includes PSNC Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, Duke Energy Progress, PowerSecure International, GlaxoSmithK michael michael kors hamilton line, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Biogen Idec and others. He has also contributed more than 30 book reviews on topics spanning botany, history, science and religion. You can reach him at 9198298932 or email him. michael michael kors hamilton