Offshore wind energy shows promise in USSeptember 17, 2012
New report highlights the potential of offshore wind energy systems
Offshore wind energy has managed to gain some traction in the U.S. As in other countries, the U.S. government is beginning to see offshore wind energy in terms of economic potential. The interests of the federal government have begun expanding to state governments as well, with more taking a keen interest in the possible benefits they can see through the adoption and support of offshore wind energy. The National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) has released a new report that may add further momentum to the progress of this alternative energy in the country.
Report suggests US can generate more than 1,300GW through turbines at sea
The report, titled “The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy,” highlights the economic potential of wind power and details the progress the country has made in adopting this form of sustainable energy. The Atlantic Ocean is home to powerful wind currents that represent a vast amount of untapped energy. As such, the ocean is an ideal location for wind turbines. According to the NWF report, U.S. offshore wind energy projects have the potential to generate more than 1,300 gigawatts of electricity if they are positioned off the East Coast.
A fraction of total wind energy potential could lead to serious benefits
The report notes that the 1,300GW mark may be a stretch, but harnessing just 52GW worth of wind power would be enough to power more than 14 million average homes and create over 300,000 new jobs. In turn, these jobs would bring more than $200 billion in economic activity to the country’s largest cities along the East Coast. While the report highlights the economic potential of offshore wind energy systems, this potential can only be taken advantage of in a “best case scenario.”
Possibilities of offshore wind energy inhibited by infrastructure and politics
In order for the benefits of offshore wind energy to be actualized in the U.S., the country will have to reform its own energy infrastructure to make it more accommodating to alternative energy. While this is already underway, to some degree, there are still legislative hurdles that must be overcome before any alternative energy initiative can receive the support it needs to reach a point where it can reliable producing 52GW of electricity.