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Federal officials urged to accelerate the development of offshore wind in the US

A report looking into the sector's development to date claims that more could be done to encourage clean local energy and economic development by implementing critical policies to encourage investment.

Speaking about the report, compiled by Environment America, Rob Sargent, Environment America’s energy program director said, "up and down the Atlantic Coast, the building blocks are being put in place to usher in a bright future for offshore wind...but, harnessing this vast yet-to-be-tapped resource requires a strong and ongoing commitment. Local, state and federal officials, including Congress, need to step up and link arms to make the promise of offshore wind a reality.”

Many recognise that the US' Atlantic coast is an ideal location for not just offshore wind energy but wave and tidal energy too - because of the high electricity demand and population density along the coast.

Along the Atlantic coast alone, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) has a goal of 54 gigawatts of generation, taking roughly 18 million cars off the road and generating US$200 billion in new economic activity creating over 43,000 permanent, high-paying jobs (according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory figures).

The report contains details on the key milestones of each Atlantic Coast state, pointing out that in the near future offshore wind energy could be an "economic powerhouse" for America. Efforts are already underway in 10 Atlantic Coast states to bring that energy ashore, with over 2,000 square nautical miles of federal waters already designated for wind energy development off of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, according to the report.

However, the report concludes that leadership is urgently needed at both the state and federal level to ensure offshore wind energy becomes a reality in the US - including the statement of a clear national goal for offshore wind by President Obama; more tax incentives granted by Congress; and an efficient, environmentally-responsible permitting process that grants leases to developers by the end of 2012.
 

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Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power

 

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