US interstate agreement to develop offshore wind power

The US Department of Interior (DOI) and the governors of ten Atlantic coastal states signed an agreement that establishes the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium.

The new consortium will promote the development of offshore wind resources on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. Specifically, it will coordinate efforts made in several states to expedite permits, to complete environmental studies, to overcome technical and financial obstacles and to build and manage wind turbines plants.

The agreement was signed by governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, while Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will oversee development activities.

"Development of offshore wind power in this part of the country – said Home Secretary Ken Salazar – will not only produce environmental benefits but also create thousands of jobs in turbine manufacturing and plant construction and management. Salazar added that “by some estimates, if the US fully pursues its potential for offshore wind energy, wind can generate 20 percent of our electricity and create a quarter-million jobs in the process".

At present, several offshore wind farm projects have been submitted for the installation of plants offshore the US Atlantic Coast.

Besides the large-scale Cape Wind farm project (in Massachusetts, which has only been approved at a national level), other wind farm projects were proposed regarding offshore wind in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Moreover, a public-private partnership is developing a 350 MW wind power project to be built off the coast of the Rockaway Peninsula (New York). Finally, several ongoing projects regard internal offshore, therefore concern plants that will not be installed at sea, but rather in the waters of the Great Lakes, and in particular Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.