The federal government has identified three areas off the coast of North Carolina for the development of wind farms.
Two are south of Wilmington and one is just east of Kitty Hawk, smack-dab in the middle of the sea lanes that oceangoing vessels use to get to the ports of Hampton Roads and Baltimore.
“That’s the one, obviously, that causes us quite a bit of concern,” Heather Wood, the Virginia Port Authority’s director of environmental affairs, told about 100 participants at an annual “navigational summit” last week in Norfolk.
While port stakeholders had plenty of input on potential sites of wind farms off Virginia – a two-turbine test project is set to move forward this summer – they were caught off-guard by the announcement of the areas being considered off North Carolina.
“Obviously, the maritime industry came in on that on the back end,” Wood said, adding that the identified Kitty Hawk area would affect commercial vessels.
The Coast Guard did warn the government of risks to navigation safety and is working “to make sure that turbines don’t end up in those sea lanes,” she said.
Port officials have since weighed in, she said, and are waiting for a response from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
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