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Energy experts urge Gov. Perdue to support offshore wind farm

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TWC News: Energy experts urge Gov. Perdue to support offshore wind farm
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KURE BEACH, N.C. – Pursue wind and just tap into drilling royalties.

This is the advice given to Gov. Bev Perdue in a report put together by her Advisory Panel on Offshore Energy.

Kure Beach resident Ken Phillips said despite living on the coast he's not against offshore energy development.

"I'm a little reluctant to think about offshore drilling however, offshore wind energy is a completely different story," said Phillips. "I am in favor of that because it's a clean energy technology."

The report agrees. It states that deposits within North Carolina waters do not justify drilling. Furthermore, if any were to be found it would likely be in federally-controlled waters.

"I as governor am very willing to continue this exploration and be sure that if we get into it there is a revenue stream for North Carolina," said Perdue.

However, the report shows that North Carolina has the largest offshore wind resource on the east coast.

Supporters said this has many benefits.

"We should work together to make this is an energy issue but also a jobs issue for North Carolina," said Mac Montgomery, chairman of the Cape Fear Sierra Club.

Montgomery said the wind turbines would also be in federally-controlled waters but he said North Carolina would still reap the economic benefits.

"A wind turbine has 8,000 component parts, this is 8,000 things that have to be manufactured here, then serviced and created offshore so even though we wouldn't achieve any federal royalties from the lease rights we would see the benefit," said Montgomery.

Phillips said you have to take the good with the bad.

"Nobody wants things in their backyard that aren't attractive but there are quality of life issues as well that we have to balance against our need for energy," said Phillips.

Last November, the Department of Interior opened more areas to drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico but the east and west coast are off limits at least for the time being.

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