Offshore wind for the Atlantic Coast is closer to reality than ever before, and the Obama administration is largely to thank, says a coalition of environmentalists, public health advocates, and faith and elected leaders. More than 275 groups and officials joined together on a letter to President Barack Obama and his administration, urging them to continue their leadership in developing wind power off the Atlantic Coast.
‘In the race for developing pollution-free energy off our coasts, we are finally at the starting block,’ says Bronte Payne, clean energy associate with Environment America. ‘We're counting on continued leadership from the president and his officials to see offshore wind closer and closer to the finish line.’
According to Environment America, the Obama administration has awarded nine commercial wind leases totaling over 700,000 acres in federal waters up and down the Atlantic coast, with more on the horizon. The administration also recently announced a multi-state project with New York, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island that will lay important groundwork for developing wind along the northeastern coast, the group adds.
The year so far has "marked a major milestone in America's pursuit of offshore wind power, with our first project finally under construction off the coast of Rhode Island," says the letter. "We are counting on your leadership to ensure that [the 30 MW Block Island offshore wind farm] is truly the beginning of a new energy chapter for America."
The letter also lauds the administration's Clean Power Plan, but notes that, "additional leadership is needed to maintain momentum and ensure that offshore wind power plays a major role in states' plans to reduce pollution and shift to clean energy."
"Climate change is already having profound impacts on wildlife and their habitats," comments Catherine Bowes, senior manager for climate and energy at the National Wildlife Federation, another of the letter's signers. "Responsibly developed offshore wind power can and must play a major role in ensuring a clean and reliable energy future for America, and we call on state leaders to commit to bringing this transformational power source online."
The letter, along with a full list of signatories, is available here.