The Obama administration has announced competitive lease sales for wind energy development off the eastern coasts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Virginia. This is the first time that a portion of the outer continental shelf will be leased for renewable energy development.
There are several areas proposed for leasing: the Virginia coast could support more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generation; Massachusetts and Rhode Island could support about 2,000 megawatts of wind generation. When combined, these offshore wind farms could generate enough electricity to power an estimated 1.4 million average sized homes.
“We have enormous potential for harnessing pollution-free wind energy off our coasts, and now are closer than ever to making this vision a reality in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We are thrilled that the Obama administration has announced another critical step forward for offshore wind development and look forward to continuing to work with state and federal leaders to see turbines spinning off our coasts soon,” said Courtney Abrams, Clean Energy Advocate for Environment America.
The organization applauded Obama for his leadership and established its support for responsibly-sited offshore wind energy projects. Abrams said offshore wind resources are vital to ensuring a future with cleaner air and fewer extreme weather events. She cited the statistic that along the Atlantic coast alone, reaching the Department of Energy’s goal of 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power would reduce global warming pollution by the equivalent of taking roughly 18 million cars off the road. In addition, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, meeting this benchmark would generate $200 billion in new economic activity while creating more than 43,000 permanent, high-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction, engineering, operations, and maintenance.