Offshore wind is a key part of transitioning our nation off dirty energy sources like coal, and toward our clean energy future. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) the Atlantic Ocean has 1,283.5 gigawatts (GW) of potential offshore wind. That’s enough to power most of the homes along the Atlantic coast. What’s more, offshore wind produces no pollution. Every offshore wind turbine we install will bring us closer to transitioning off of dirty fossil fuels, meaning cleaner air and water for families across the U.S.
Finally, offshore wind development off the Atlantic coast could create between 133,000 and 212,000 jobs annually in the United States—more than three times as many jobs as new offshore oil and natural gas development would create. If the Atlantic states develop just 54 GW of the 1,283 GW potential, they would create $200 billion in new economic activity and more than 43,000 permanent, high-paying jobs.
Fossil fuel prices are highly volatile—natural gas prices fluctuated by 61 percent in 2011 and are highest in summer when we use the most energy. Similarly, the cost of coal is on the rise and the price of oil has skyrocketed over the last several years. But offshore wind farms derive their energy from wind, which will always be plentiful and free. Because of this, we can count on the cost of wind power to be permanently stable and affordable.
These offshore wind projects can and should be sited and developed to have the fewest possible impacts on birds and ocean mammals.