Will Federal and State Leaders Take Advantage of America’s Golden Opportunity?
“America’s Atlantic coast has some of the best offshore wind energy resources in the world, the technology to harvest it is ready right now, and we have workers ready to do the job,” said Catherine Bowes, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager for new energy solutions and lead author of the report. “We need to take advantage of this golden opportunity to make our electricity supply cleaner, more wildlife-friendly, and more secure.”
“Instead of offshoring our energy resources and jobs, we should be building more American-made offshore wind facilities,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the Ranking Democratic Member on the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over offshore energy production. “The same winds that brought settlers to our shores looking for religious freedom can help usher in a new era of freedom from foreign energy sources. President Obama and leaders in Massachusetts have done their part to pave the way for offshore wind development. Now Congress needs to do its part by supporting vital wind incentives and ending the threats to raise taxes on wind energy production.”
“As the state’s designated staging area for the nation’s first offshore wind energy project, the City of New Bedford is excited about the tremendous potential for this emerging industry to generate jobs. Wind energy means not just erecting turbines, but transporting complex machinery and equipment great distances, and developing new industrial technologies. The ripple effects will spread right up the supply chain and across our entire economy,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “Wind energy is also a way to preserve the rich maritime traditions that have made New Bedford and other coastal communities such unique and vibrant places, while strengthening our local economy, fostering our energy security, and protecting our environment for future generations.”
“Massachusetts can cut the pollution that fuels global warming and jumpstart a clean energy economy, but only if Senators Brown and Kerry take a leadership role in passing critical renewable energy tax credits so we can finally unleash our nation’s offshore wind potential,” said Alison Giest, Field Organizer at Environment Massachusetts.
Sue Reid, VP and Director of Conservation Law Foundation’s (CLF) Massachusetts Advocacy Center, said, “As a co-sponsor of this important report, CLF is excited to see over a decade of our advocacy throughout New England coming to fruition. In Massachusetts, as elsewhere, there is much more to do to help offshore wind realize its promise as a cornerstone of our clean energy future, starting with the pioneering and long-overdue Cape Wind project. CLF will continue to use its expertise to assure that offshore wind is responsibly yet expeditiously deployed to replace dirty energy sources with clean home-grown power.”
“Citizens of Massachusetts win twice with offshore wind energy – not only does our economy benefit from the jobs and energy security that wind energy brings, but especially as a coastal state, we all benefit from cutting the carbon pollution that’s fueling climate change,” said Ken Pruitt of the Environmental League of Massachusetts. “Congress needs to set aside partisan bickering and send a clear signal that America is committed to clean energy.”
“Congress should move offshore wind forward for the jobs it will bring as well as the clean energy benefits,” said Nigel Fellman Greene, a laid-off wind worker and Sierra Club activist. “As a wind worker who was laid off because of delays in wind energy tax credits from congress, I can personally testify how important this is. The renewable energy sector seeks veterans to work in the field and unemployment among young veterans is above 20 percent. This is not just about my job, it is about putting our returning patriots to work, and Senators need to support the production tax credit and other incentives that will put folks like me back on the job on making clean wind energy.”
Among the highlights of the report for Massachusetts:
- Offshore wind energy will be an economic powerhouse for Massachusetts. Harnessing just 52 gigawatts of Atlantic offshore wind energy – just 4 percent of the estimated generation potential of this massive resource – could generate $200 billion in economic activity, create 300,000 jobs, and sustain power for about 14 million homes. Off Massachusetts alone, over 200 GW of energy generation of offshore wind potential has been identified.
- Massachusetts is closer than ever to bringing offshore wind energy ashore. After over a decade, Cape Wind is finally within sight of the finish line with construction expected to commence in 2013. The federal government has established two formal wind energy areas off the coast of Massachusetts, the largest area under consideration anywhere along the Atlantic Coast. Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, the Commonwealth is poised to lead the nation in the pursuit of offshore wind energy.
- Despite this progress, leadership is urgently neededat the federal level to ensure offshore wind energy becomes a reality in Massachusetts:
- President Obama should set a clear national goal for offshore wind energy development. Federal regulators must continue to move forward with an efficient, environmentally-responsible permitting process for offshore wind projects that grants leases to developers by the end of 2012. Leases must include strong safeguards for coastal and marine wildlife.
- Congress needs to step up and provide much-needed tax incentives – such as the Investment Tax Credit, Production Tax Credit, and Advanced Energy Project Credit – to advance this new job-creating industry.
- Offshore wind energy can and must be developed in a wildlife-friendly manner. Not only do scientific studies show that properly locating turbines and requiring best management practices can minimize impacts on birds, bats, sea turtles and marine mammals, but transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy benefits all wildlife from cleaner air and water and cutting the carbon pollution that causes climate change.
“Like many states along the Atlantic, Massachusetts has no fossil fuel resources, forcing us to import almost all of our energy needs,” Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan said. “Developing offshore wind, an indigenous and emissions free energy source just off the Massachusetts coast, would not only offer a tremendous economic opportunity by creating thousands of new jobs for our citizens, offshore wind will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vastly improve the quality of the air we breathe.”
The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy: Time for Action to Create Jobs, Reduce Pollution, Protect Wildlife & Secure America’s Energy Future is available online at: www.nwf.org/offshorewind
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