New Hampshire is a Contender in the Race for Offshore Wind

Media Releases

Environment New Hampshire

Portsmouth, NH – As the clock ticks down for Congress to extend critical tax credits for wind power, a new report shows that with continued state and federal leadership, New Hampshire could soon realize the benefits of offshore wind.

New Hampshire has immense untapped offshore wind energy resources, and the new report “The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy: Time for Action to Create Jobs, Protect Wildlife, & Secure America’s Energy Future”, written by the National Wildlife Federation and released today by Environment New Hampshire, identifies key building blocks that local, state, and federal officials have put in place to usher in a future with offshore wind. For example, on July 30, 2012 Governor Lynch joined the New England Governors in passing a resolution that commits to issuing a joint Request for Proposals for renewable power contracts in 2013.

“In the race up and down the Atlantic to have the first offshore wind project, we can’t let New Hampshire fall behind,” said Johanna Neumann, Regional Director for Environment New Hampshire.  “To get us over the finish line so we can start producing pollution-free energy and creating local jobs from offshore wind development, our leaders must act now, first by demanding that Congress extend the offshore wind tax credit before it expires at the end of the year.”

Our reliance on fossil fuels has destroyed some of our most precious landscapes, is contributing to public health problems like asthma and heart attacks from dangerous air pollution, is fueling global warming, which puts New Hampshire’s winter recreation industry at risk.  Offshore wind can help New Hampshire meet its energy needs without creating more pollution.

Harnessing New Hampshire’s abundant offshore wind resource to generate electricity would be not only good for the environment, but would benefit our economy by creating good paying jobs,” said state Representative Robin Read of Portsmouth who serves on the Science, Technology and Energy committee of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

According to a 2010 National Renewable Energy Laboratory assessment, New Hampshire’s offshore wind resource are 3.4 GW within 50 nautical miles of the coast, enough to satisfy 81% of New Hampshire’s electricity needs in 2010.  

New Hampshire’s leaders have been laying the groundwork to ramp up offshore wind. New Hampshire has a requirement that utilities secure at least 24.8% of their
electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 and the state participates in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Additionally, the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Ocean Renewable Energy (CORE) is actively engaged in
offshore wind research, having received a $700,000 DOE grant in 2009 to participate in the DeepCWind consortium led by the University of Maine.

The Atlantic coast is an ideal location for offshore wind energy because of its high electricity demand and population density along the coast.  Along the Atlantic coast alone, reaching the Department of Energy’s (DOE) goal of 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power would reduce carbon pollution by the equivalent of taking roughly 18 million cars off the road.  Meeting this benchmark would also generate $200 billion in new economic activity while creating more than 43,000 permanent, high-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction, engineering, operations, and maintenance, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The broad base of support for offshore wind was demonstrated in late July when more than two-hundred environmental organizations, businesses, and local and state officials from up and down the Atlantic coast wrote a letter to federal officials calling for bold action to accelerate the development of offshore wind.  

New Hampshire and national partners including business leaders, local and state elected officials, labor groups and environmental and clean energy organizations released the new report today up and down the Atlantic Coast. These groups call on state and federal officials to take the following steps to ensure the swift, environmentally sound ramp-up of offshore wind in the Atlantic:
•    Set a bold goal for offshore wind energy development in the Atlantic Ocean to provide clear leadership and vision.
•    Take decisive action to advance offshore wind energy development goals, including helping confront the financial challenges facing this new industry by extending the federal offshore wind investment tax credit, among other policies.
•    Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited, constructed, and operated responsibly in order to protect wildlife and avoid conflicts with other ocean uses.
•    Increase stakeholder coordination and public engagement.

N. Jonathan Peress, VP and director of Conservation Law Foundation’s (CLF) Clean Energy and Climate Change program, 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 New Hampshire, as elsewhere, there is much more to do to help offshore wind realize its promise as a cornerstone of our clean energy future. CLF will use the expertise it has gained to date to continue to assure that offshore wind is deployed and properly sited to maximize energy and minimize environmental impacts.”