Public Demand for Offshore Wind is Building

Americans are ready to get serious about renewable energy.  Today, NWF joined over 120 national, regional, and local organizations in sending a letter to President Obama calling for rapid, responsible development of our offshore wind energy resources. While battles rage on Capitol Hill over whether the Environmental Protection Agency should fulfill its responsibilities under the Clean Air Act to cut carbon pollution, it is clear that public demand for locally-produced clean energy is building.

And it’s no wonder – if we are to confront the twin challenges of climate change and energy independence, we must start tapping the immense energy source available right off the Atlantic coast: offshore wind.

In December, when NWF released a report highlighting the massive energy generation and job creation potential of Atlantic offshore wind, 40 organizations signed on as cosponsors in our call to action. Today, over 120 organizations have united in a clear message to President Obama:  it’s time to get moving on appropriately-sited offshore wind. Among the groups were 13 of NWF’s state affiliate organizations, highlighting the importance of pursuing offshore wind as part of a strategy to protect wildlife from the many adverse impacts of our fossil fuel-based energy system.

In December, 2010, NWF released "Offshore Wind in the Atlantic" along with environmental, conservation, labor, industry, and veteran representatives.

Specifically, the letter calls on the Administration to:

  • identify high priority areas for offshore wind development;
  • establish a clear and rational process for permitting offshore wind facilities; and
  • create standards to protect the Atlantic Ocean’s marine and coastal ecosystems, including avoiding siting in important ecological areas and mitigating habitat impacts.

The letter underscores the notion that by pursuing areas for development that avoid conflicts, we can ensure that wind development in the Atlantic moves forward quickly and efficiently from the start.
Another recent example of growing public support for offshore wind can be found in Maryland, where last week supporters packed a General Assembly hearing room to testify on a state bill that seeks to advance offshore wind in Maryland. NWF joined a diverse set of stakeholders in voicing support for the bill, including representatives from United Steelworkers, Building Trades Union, public health groups, and conservation organizations. Marylanders clearly see the many benefits of developing their offshore wind resources, including the significant job creation opportunity.

Appropriately-sited offshore wind can help power our homes, businesses, and vehicles with locally-produced clean energy. Our state and federal leaders must join forces to develop this important clean energy source in a manner that protects our treasured marine wildlife resources.

As the letter to President Obama states, “For the sake of our environment and the hope of building a truly clean energy economy in America, we must see numerous wind farms spinning off our shores within the next few years – and we need your help to make that vision a reality.”