Never Mind the Atlantic Oil... Offshore Wind Power Can Electrify Half of East Coast

offshore wind farm photo

Great blog title swindle via New York Times. Photo: Ingy the Wingy via flickr.

A new report by Oceana outlines, as previous studies have done, just how bountiful the offshore wind power potential of the Atlantic coast of the United States is. While it varies from state to state, a handful of states could generate more electricity than they need, and more could supply a large part of their demand. Overall, offshore wind could generate more power than than the economically recoverable oil and gas reserves in the same locations. In fact wind power could produce 30% more electricity than those fossil fuel sources. What's more, offshore wind power could produce enough electricity to supply about half of the East Coast's electricity demand.

wind power potential of US Atlantic states chart

chart: Oceana

As you can see in the chart above, this is how that breaks down on a state-by-state basis: Delaware, Massachusetts and North Carolina all could generate more electricity than they need from offshore wind power (137%, 120%, 112% respectively). New Jersey, Virginia and South Carolina could all get the majority of their electricity this way (92%, 83%, 64%).

In developing that potential power, the report says between 133,000 and 210,000 domestic jobs will be created annually--three times the amount of jobs estimated to be created by expanding offshore oil and natural gas production.

Oceana recommends a multi-point plan for transition away from fossil fuels and towards more offshore wind power:

  • Eliminate federal subsidies for fossil fuels and re-direct those federal funds to renewable energy development and energy efficiency programs.
  • Stop all new offshore drilling for oil and gas, to prevent future spills and reduce competition for resources and professional expertise.  Such competition will slow the development of offshore wind power.
  • Ban new oil and gas development in previously protected areas in the Atlantic Ocean, where renewable energy is more cost effective.
  • Stop any new oil and gas development in the Arctic Ocean, until and unless independent science demonstrates that it will not impact marine ecosystems and demonstrates that sufficient spill response capabilities exist in those areas.
  • Prioritize the leasing of installation ships for wind turbine installation.
  • Increase and make permanent the production and investment tax credit for wind energy, outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009.
  • Increase and make permanent the Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program for opening, expanding or modernizing facilities to manufacture offshore wind turbine components, and extend this program to turbine installation vessel manufacturing.
  • Increase long-term demand for and supply of renewable energy, through a robust Renewable Electricity Standard and Loan Guarantee programs for renewable energy projects, technology manufacturing and training.
  • Accelerate the electrification of the U.S. fleet through incentives to automobile manufacturers and purchasers, while building charging stations and other necessary infrastructure to increase use of electric vehicles.

Read the original report: Untapped Wealth: Offshore wind can deliver cleaner, more affordable energy and more jobs than offshore oil [PDF]

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