East Coast Wind Potential Trumps Oil

While the legacy of offshore oil continues to circulate through the Gulf of Mexico, clean, green offshore wind remains a relatively unexplored energy technology in the U.S. A new report released by Oceana, a nonprofit with a mission to protect oceans, shows that offshore wind potential is so high off the U.S. Atlantic coast that what it terms “a modest investment in offshore wind” in this region could handily supply nearly half of the current electricity needs of all the East Coast states.

The new analysis, entitled “Untapped Wealth:  The Potential of Offshore Energy to Deliver Clean, Affordable Energy and Jobs,” works with conservative estimates of offshore wind power to generate both electricity and jobs. According to the study, U.S. Atlantic offshore wind developments have the potential to create  between 133,000 and 212,000 jobs annually in the United States–which, the organization points out, is more than three times the jobs estimate from proposed future expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling.

Oceana report

image via Oceana

Other key findings of the analysis include the fact that the states of Delaware, Massachusetts and North Carolina could generate enough electricity from offshore wind to completely eliminate their need for fossil fuel- based electric generation (New Jersey, Virginia and South Carolina could supply 92 percent, 83 percent and 64 percent of their current electricity generation with offshore wind, respectively). Oceana states that Atlantic offshore wind energy could be produced with less expense than corresponding oil and gas projects, while creating more jobs.

“I am a firm believer in the promise of offshore wind power,” said Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE), in a statement.  “The Oceana report confirms what I have been saying for a long time: the development of offshore wind means reliable energy, good paying American jobs and independence from fuels that pollute our air and drain our economy. I will continue to support offshore wind energy through my work in the Senate, for both the state of Delaware and the rest of the nation.”

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.