Oceana is a proud event partner of the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Offshore WindPower Conference, which will be held next week, October 9 – 11, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I will be attending the conference, along with our very own Matt Huelsenbeck and Leah Scull, to raise the profile of Oceana’s work in promoting offshore wind development and to learn about the latest developments in the industry.
This conference comes at an incredibly exciting time for offshore wind. While the U.S. has yet to put any “steel in the water,” many projects along the Atlantic coast and the Great Lakes are moving steadily through the regulatory process. In fact, as many as four offshore wind projects, including Cape Wind, could begin construction next year. Additionally, exciting new technologies to facilitate floating wind deployment are quickly emerging, bringing floating wind projects to Maine and the West coast sooner than we once thought! As the Department of the Interior works to make offshore wind a reality, Oceana will continue to provide comprehensive comments to the department to help ensure that marine life is protected throughout the process.
Here’s just a few reasons why Oceana is so invested in making offshore wind a reality:
- Because we’ve seen the damage that offshore drilling and the burning of fossil fuels can do to the health of the oceans and marine life, and we must find a better way to satisfy our energy needs.
- Because offshore wind turbines harness a clean and infinite source of energy, while eliminating the risk of deadly oil spills and creating three times as many jobs as traditional fuel industries.
- Because we believe that the environmentally safe and responsible development of offshore wind is one of the best chances we have to end our addiction to fossil fuels and to finally stop the dangerous practice of oil and gas drilling in our oceans.
- Because we believe that, if sited correctly, offshore wind could be the ocean-based part of the solution to climate change and its "evil twin," ocean acidification.
Like I said, it’s an exciting time in the world of offshore wind and we’re thrilled to partner with AWEA for this year’s Offshore WindPower Conference!
Nancy Sopko is an Ocean Advocate at Oceana.
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.
That, essentially, is what Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar acknowledged with his approval of the Cape Wind project, the nation's first offshore wind farm, which has been in the works for nearly a decade.
Oceana's chief scientist and senior vice president Mike Hirshfield had this to say about the big decision:
"We hope that today’s decision on Cape Wind will help set in motion a series of actions leading to additional American offshore wind projects. It sends a clear signal to turbine manufacturers and supporting companies that the U.S. means business on clean energy and climate change.”
We have a long way to go on offshore wind in the U.S., but this is a crucial first step, especially in light of this month’s oil spill in the Gulf, which is oozing ever closer to landfall. After crews were unable to stop the oil spill with underwater robots, they are trying a new tack: setting it on fire.