November 12, 2019

2020 Could Be A “Year To Remember” For Offshore Wind Energy

By Jacqueline Isaacs

Many states, particularly those along the United States' East Coast, are approving and building offshore wind turbines as a renewable energy source for their residents. Rainey Center's co-founder and CEO, Sarah Hunt, together with Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions' Charles Hernick, recently published an Insights article in Bloomberg Law about the potential for offshore wind and why the Trump Administration ought to act promptly to encourage its development.

Hunt and Hernick show that many private companies are already working with state regulators to bring this resource to the energy marketplace. They explain,

The U.S. East Coast is a top target for energy companies interested in investing in offshore wind and will bring with development a substantial boon for workers and the economy while also accessing a previously untapped source of emission-free energy.

The appetite for offshore wind is palpable. States and industry have aligned to help create a market for offshore wind that invest and establish manufacturing facilities in the U.S. This past summer, New Jersey regulators announced a new project to build 1100 MW of offshore wind off the coast of Atlantic City. In September, Virginia’s largest utility announced a plan to build over 200 wind turbines 27 miles off the coast. The project would generate enough energy to power 650,000 homes.

The authors explain that while new offshore wind is estimated to bring in over 100,000 jobs by 2050, these new jobs are not the only benefit. According to Hunt and Hernick, these offshore wind projects will increase tax revenues while driving energy costs down. Companies doing business in wind energy “have already brought in over $472 million in revenue,” which is only set to increase as projects continue to be built and brought online. Additionally, wind energy has already made energy more affordable through increased efficiently, another trend that can be expected to continue. The authors point out the following,

Investment in wind power—both on and offshore—has increased dramatically over the past several years. During 2018 alone, the U.S. added 7.5 gigawatts of new wind power, investing more than $24 billion in the projects. With this new investment comes increased efficiency. The cost-per-kilowatt-hour of today’s wind turbines is 55 percent lower than it was in 2009. The same kind of growth and cost savings could be what’s next for offshore wind.

In conclusion, Hunt and Hernick call on President Trump to act on offshore wind energy. “Now is the time for the Trump administration to stay true to an all-of-the-above approach to energy and timely environmental reviews,” they say. “Indeed, if everything goes to plan and environmental, industrial, and recreational interests can be met, 2020 may a year to remember: The year the Trump administration green-lighted the rapid launch of offshore wind.”

You can read the entire op-ed here: INSIGHT: Trump’s Environmental Legacy Could Be the Rise of U.S. Offshore Wind

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