On the Atlantic coast, an area targeted for expansion of oil and gas activities, offshore wind farm can generate nearly 30% more electricity than offshore oil and gas resources combined. In addition, wind development would cost about $36 billion less than offshore oil and gas production combined, while creating about three times as many jobs per dollar invested than fossil fuel production.
Based on conservative assumptions for offshore wind turbines and generous assumptions for offshore oil and natural gas, this study found that by investing in offshore wind on the East Coast, rather than offshore oil and gas, Americans would get more energy for less money while protecting our oceans.
Offshore Wind Potential
A small fraction of U.S. renewable energy resources is enough to power the country several times over. This could be done in a cost-effective way that minimizes carbon dioxide emissions which drive climate change and threaten our oceans.
A modest investment in offshore wind power could supply almost half the current electricity generation on the East Coast. Delaware, Massachusetts and North Carolina could generate enough electricity from offshore wind turbines to equal current electricity generation, entirely eliminating the need for fossil fuel based electric generation.
New Jersey, Virginia and South Carolina could supply 92%, 83% and 64% of their current electricity generation with offshore wind farm, respectively. In all these states, wind could provide more energy than the states currently get from fossil fuels.
Offshore wind power offers more environmental benefits and fewer impacts than traditional fuels such as nuclear power, natural gas, coal and oil.
Offshore wind power is located near population centers where electricity demand is highest. Coastal states account for more than three-quarters of U.S. electricity consumption. Other renewable energy is further from these high-demand areas.
Offshore wind power is less expensive than many alternatives. In some cases, offshore wind could actually lower electric bills. Offshore wind creates more jobs than offshore drilling.
Long-term jobs would be created to support offshore wind development for skilled workers and scientists, including electricians, meteorologists, welders, and turbine operators just to name a few.
Offshore wind turbines technology can help build the U.S. economy. While the U.S. has not yet installed any offshore wind farms, Europe has been doing so for 20 years and has become the leading supplier of offshore wind turbines.
Building our own domestic manufacturing base would strengthen our economy, allow U.S. expenditures to remain here at home, and allow the U.S. to become an offshore wind technology exporter.
Offshore wind energy projects should be designed to minimize environmental impacts by using new techniques and technology in the construction, operation and decommissioning process, and by protecting the environment in the siting process.
Choosing wind instead of oil and gas, rather than taking an “all-of-the-above” approach, will increase efficiency and lower costs for power production overall.