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Report: Time to Reel in the Benefits of Offshore Wind

PHOTO: Wind turbines off the coast of Denmark. Courtesy of NWF.

PHOTO: Wind turbines off the coast of Denmark. Courtesy of NWF.


September 13, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine - Some of the country's most influential environmental groups say it's time for a concerted effort at building and operating wind-energy turbines in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine and 13 other states. A new report from the National Wildlife Federation, backed by such groups as the Sierra Club and the National Audubon Society, says it will help stave off climate change, which they consider the major threat to living creatures, and turbines also will create jobs - up to 300,000 overall, by one estimate.

Dylan Voorhees with the Natural Resources Council of Maine says Maine cities, especially ports and coastal cities, are primed to benefit.

"We can be manufacturing turbines or parts, or even manufacturing the vessels that work on installation or maintenance."

The deep water off Maine's coast may spur development of tethered, floating wind turbines, which could ranger farther offshore and catch higher winds. The report says federal, state and local governments need to work together and to work fast, now that wind power seems on the verge of acceptance.

The coast of Maine offers different wind power possibilities from other Atlantic coast states, Voorhees says.

"With deep water offshore wind, you have the ability to have a little bit more distance, have a little bit more flexibility, and you really have a pretty large ocean. We're optimistic that we can find the places to do it right."

Catherine Bowes with the National Wildlife Federation says wind power developments must be carefully sited to minimize the impact on coastal and marine wildlife.

"We fundamentally believe that climate change is the single greatest threat facing wildlife here in America and across the globe. As a result, we're firmly committed to advancing clean energy in a responsible way."

Offshore wind turbines operate in 12 overseas countries, but not a single one has been built off of U.S. shores.

The full report is available at www.nwf.org/offshorewind.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - ME