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Report: The Color in the Wind Offshore is Golden

PHOTO: Atlantic offshore wind power potential hasn't yet been tapped, although a new report says Pennsylvania could help push development with state policies. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
PHOTO: Atlantic offshore wind power potential hasn't yet been tapped, although a new report says Pennsylvania could help push development with state policies. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
July 11, 2014

PHILADELPHIA - The water is waiting for wind-power development.

A handful of offshore wind projects are well on their way, but according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, thousands of acres of Atlantic waters still are available.

Report author Catherine Bowes called it a "golden opportunity," pointing out that Pennsylvania could tap into the supply to help meet new Environmental Protection Agency standards for reducing carbon pollution.

"There are over a million-and-a-half acres of federal waters that have been designated for offshore wind," she said. "The Department of Energy has estimated that across those areas could produce 16,000 megawatts to power 5 million American homes."

One argument against wind has been the cost. Bowes said they found the impact on electricity rates would be close to neutral and would even help with power supplies during peak demand times - the times when coal, gas and nuclear charge the most for usage.

There is a catch, though: Bowes said states have to act in order to push the turbines into the water.

"The critical next step," she said, "is for our state leaders to seize that opportunity and build offshore wind into their state energy plans."

The report, Bowes said, also highlighted two projects expected to begin by next year: Cape Wind off Massachusetts and the Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island.

The report, "Catching the Wind," is online at NWF.org/OffshoreWind.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - PA