Beaufort, N.C. – Outer Banks visitors are concerned over the possibility that North Carolina could use parts of Morehead City for offshore wind construction. They believe the $20 million that will be used add wind power to Radio Island will impact the area’s tourism.
Radio Island is a mostly untouched stretch of beach near the heart of Morehead City. But much of the area could be paved over as the state looks to the future of wind energy.
“You’ve got people that live here and use this place for leisure,” said Alex Hemby, who vacations in Morehead City. “They’re not going to want that if it’s here. This is a vacation spot.
Radio Island has more than 200 acres of overgrown land. It’s one of the few underdeveloped sites on the Morehead Coastline. Some tourists feel another major development in the area could push travelers to look elsewhere.
“We have the Fort Macon State Park, and you can see pretty great views from it,” Hemby said. “It would be quite an eyesore back there to see just concrete, windmills, warehouses.”
North Carolina has budgeted $20 million to possibly develop the Radio Island area for offshore wind.
“North Carolina has this amazing, once-in-a-generation opportunity to transition to a clean energy economy right now,” said Jennifer Mundt, state secretary for Clean Energy Economic Development.
This plan is part of North Carolina’s effort to capitalize on what could be a hundred billion dollar industry, according to the state.
“Tens of thousands of jobs that will provide families sustaining wages for folks both at the coast and throughout the whole geography of the state,” Mundt said.
Right now, the state is surveying the land for environmental impact.
North Carolina State Ports Authority will be listening to public comments on the project through next week. The state Department of Commerce said with a lengthy environmental review, construction wouldn’t start for at least several years.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding