Skip to main content

Clean Energy Leadership and Offshore Wind Potential in North Carolina

March 20, 2024 Offshore wind turbines as UNC Cleantech Summit speaker, Bailey Pons speaks with student journalist about NC's offshore wind potential.

North Carolina is making significant strides in transforming its economy into a clean energy powerhouse, according to a recent economic development report. Recognized as a national leader in renewable energy, the state’s commitment to addressing climate change and embracing clean technologies positions it at the forefront of a sustainable future. As the UNC Cleantech Summit approaches in March 2024, we explore the state’s achievements and focus on one of the most promising sectors – offshore wind.

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina highlights the state’s commitment to clean energy, leading the United States to take bold steps to address climate change. With more than $8 billion in capital investments announced in the last two years within the clean energy sector, North Carolina is proving to be an attractive destination for companies driving the clean energy economy. SmartAsset ranks North Carolina as the top state in the nation for renewable energy leadership, emphasizing its potential for attracting major investments. The state’s strategic economic development plan, “First in Talent,” underscores the importance of preparing the workforce for roles in the clean energy sector.

North Carolina’s wind energy potential, particularly offshore wind, positions it as a frontrunner along the east coast. In an interview I had with Bailey Pons, a Wind Energy Workforce Development researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, we discussed exciting developments and breakthroughs in offshore wind. Pons discusses the Smart Power project, a supply chain and workforce development assessment focusing on states in the Mid-Atlantic region, including North Carolina. The project aims to revolutionize the methodology for assessing regional workforces, showcasing the state’s commitment to offshore wind and clean tech advancements.

She expressed her enthusiasm for this project, indicating its potential to shape the future of the industry. Pons was able to offer valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities within the offshore wind sector. She emphasized the importance of acknowledging the complexity of offshore wind, especially in the current landscape of varying policies and regulatory changes, while also maintaining a forward-thinking mindset to drive industry progress.

North Carolina’s position at the forefront of clean energy transformation, coupled with its offshore wind potential, sets the stage for an engaging discussion at the upcoming UNC Cleantech Summit. The state’s commitment to sustainability, and ongoing projects and investments, makes it a beacon for clean tech enthusiasts. As we look forward to the summit, it’s clear that North Carolina is not just a leader in clean energy – it’s a pioneer shaping the future of the entire industry.


This article was written by Stella Atkins, a UNC Cleantech Corner Initiative intern.



Parker, J. (2023, January 13). NC at “forefront” of a clean energy future. WRAL TechWire.

Report: NC at ‘forefront’ of clean energy transformation which could mean more jobs, investment

About the Author