WILLIAMSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – During Wednesday’s Martin County Board of Commissioners meeting, Jennifer Mundt, the Assistant Secretary of Clean Energy Economic Development with the NC Department of Commerce presented an offshore wind opportunity.
Mundt said Martin County’s role in offshore wind energy is about the proximity to the water, calling the county the gateway to the coast.
NC could be in line for a huge economic investment to support the offshore wind industry.
“A $100-billion-dollar investment translates into tens of thousands of good family-sustaining wage jobs, which I know all counties and all regions across the state are looking for. I would suspect that a proportion of that could definitely find its way into Martin County,” said Mundt.
While Mundt said she’s aware of the concerns, especially when it comes to the fishing industry,
she said the federal government works to ensure these areas aren’t impacted.
“Any ocean user conflicts are either avoided or mitigated and so the federal agencies will evaluate where the areas are that are most readily used by commercials recreational fishermen and women so as to avoid them,” said Mundt.
She added the Department of Defense is also involved in the project making sure the military’s needed action isn’t affected.
When it comes to why NC is being looked at in offshore wind energy, it’s about location.
“North Carolina has the best technical potential to generate offshore wind energy based on our long coastline, our relatively shallow waters before you get off to the deep drop off of the continental shelf, and our location in the middle of the Atlantic gives us prime geography to be able to support and supply the projects that are underway all the way up and down the coast,” Mundt said.
There are three wind energy areas under development: The Carolina Long Bay area, which is divided into two lease areas. Along with that is the closest to Martin County, the Kitty Hawk wind energy area. Construction is expected to start in 2026.