NC, Denmark agency wind energy agreement could be big business for Greenville

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The governments of North Carolina and Denmark agreed formally Wednesday to work together toward helping the U.S. state build wind energy operations off the Atlantic coast.

North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Sanders and the head of the Danish Energy Agency signed a memorandum of understanding during a transatlantic livestream call.

“This allowance, alliance with the Denmark group, allows us to kind of take some of their best practices and bring it to North Carolina to our coastline,” said Uconda Dunn, vice president of Business Development for Greenville ENC Alliance.

North Carolina government said it will benefit from more than 30 years of offshore wind energy experience from the agency, which is part of Denmark’s Ministry of Climate, Energy & Utilities. The first offshore wind farm in the world went online in 1991 off the coast of a Danish island.

Dunn said what ENC Alliance would expect and hope to see from the agreement is to receive some of the supply chain from offshore wind manufacturing.

“So as they continue to look into this sector and develop this sector out a little bit more, we are hopeful that we can play a role in that, from being able to house some of those industries that will create the products for the wind turbines,” Dunn said.

Gov. Roy Cooper issued a 2021 executive order seeking goals to generate 2.8 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040. Nearly half of the electricity produced in Denmark comes from offshore and inland wind turbines, the state Commerce Department said in a news release. Both governments also have emission-reduction goals to meet by 2030.

“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,” Sanders said.

The release quotes Danish Energy Agency director Kristoffer Böttzauw as saying his country’s wind power industry employs over 30,000 people.

The two agencies will aim to cooperate in part by sharing information and best practices on offshore wind energy development, facilitating technical knowledge and evaluating power purchase agreements, like those between electric generators and utilities.

Not only is it the hope of bringing clean energy but with this, the state expects tens of thousands of jobs to be created.

“And we could hope to receive, you know, anywhere from 500 to 1000 of those jobs, depending on the industry,” Dunn said. “And if you know how many of the suppliers of those wind turbines we could effectively attract into our community.”