National Wildlife Federation Report Tallies Up To 6 GW Of Atlantic Offshore Wind Projects

States and offshore wind developers are making significant progress in advancing offshore projects along the Atlantic coast, according to a new report issued by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

The report, titled ‘Offshore Wind in the Atlantic: Growing Momentum for Jobs, Energy Independence, Clean Air and Wildlife Protection,’ finds that up to 6 GW of offshore wind projects have been proposed along the Atlantic coast. Based on government analysis, the Atlantic Ocean has significant offshore wind potential, with more than 212 GW of wind resources in shallow waters.

In New York, the report finds a total 37.4 GW of wind potential in shallow water, 15 GW of which are commercially viable when environmental and socioeconomic factors are taken into account. The report includes a chart for each state's offshore wind resources, breaking down the data by water depth and distance offshore.

The Long Island-NYC Offshore Wind Project is expected to solicit bids from private developers early next year, according to the NWF. Transmission and environmental studies are being conducted, and the New York Power Authority has authorized the application for the lease of 64,500 acres of land beneath the Atlantic Ocean for development of the project in June.Â

When complete, the project's initial generation capacity is expected to be 350 MW and has the potential for expansion up to 700 MW.

‘Offshore wind development presents a tremendous job-creation opportunity for America,’ says Stewart Acuff, chief of staff at the Utility Union Workers of America, AFL-CIO. ‘In these difficult economic times, offshore wind is perhaps the most promising game in town to grow quality, high-paying jobs here at home. Our members stand ready and willing to take advantage of these new jobs and help lead America in this exciting new direction.’

The report makes the following key findings:

– Every state with significant offshore wind resources from Maine to Georgia has taken some steps forward on offshore wind. Northern states (Maine to Maryland) have the most advanced projects, while Southern states (Virginia to Georgia) are quickly mobilizing on a series of projects.

– The Atlantic's shallow water characteristics, combined with excellent wind speed, make it an ideal location for offshore wind farms. Ninety-three percent of offshore wind projects worldwide are in shallow waters (zero to 30 meters deep). Close to half of the shallow water offshore wind in the U.S. is located along the Atlantic coast.

– Although the most extensive European study concluded that offshore wind farms do not appear to have long-term or large-scale ecological impacts, major data gaps for the Atlantic Ocean still exist, and site-specific impacts need to be evaluated. A coordinated, comprehensive and well-funded effort is needed to address these gaps and improve the permitting process.

SOURCE: National Wildlife Federation

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