Offshore wind could power entire USA

There is as much wind power potential (900,000 megawatts) off the coasts of the USA as the current capacity of all power plants in that country combined, according to a new report entitled “A Framework for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the United States”, sponsored by the US Department of Energy, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and General Electric.

The Framework report finds the greatest wind power potential offshore the highly-populated urban coastal areas of the northeast and it recognizes the roles of Cape Wind and the Long Island offshore wind project in creating the momentum to develop offshore wind power in the United States.

The three passages below are examples of these points being made in the Framework:

1. The United States is getting started with two serious project proposals located off the coasts of Massachusetts and New York. Sustaining and building on this momentum will require leadership and the collective action of all interested parties.

2. “Most of the total potential offshore wind resources exist relatively close to major urban load centers, where high energy costs prevail and where opportunities for wind development on land are limited. This is especially true in the densely populated Northeast, where nearly one-fifth of that national populations lives on less than 2% of the total land area.

3. Offshore wind energy is also an attractive option for the Northeast because slightly more than half the country’s offshore wind potential is located off the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts, where water depths generally deepen gradually with distance from shore. This attribute allows for the initial development of offshore wind in relatively shallow waters followed by a transition to deeper waters further for shore as the technology is advanced.”

Jim Gordon, the President of Cape Wind, was pleased to see the Framework’s recognition of the role that offshore wind can play in addressing key national priorities, saying, “The Framework recognizes that offshore wind can meet a significant share of the energy requirements of the Northeast while helping to diversify our energy sources, protect public health and the environment, create jobs, help stabilize energy prices and make us more energy independent.” Gordon continued, “Cape Wind will help to catalyze America’s use of offshore wind to become a major supply of energy for the Northeast.”