The United States has fallen far behind many other countries on offshore wind energy development, but hopefully this news is a start in turning that situation around.
Despite criticism about the lack of action on climate change policy, the Obama Administration is moving forward with further expanding renewable energy policy. Case in point, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) is opening up bids for offshore wind farming off the Atlantic Coast.
US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Tom Beaudreau, and Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes announced on Friday a proposal to open bids for 278,000 acres of offshore wind energy in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Virginia, the release said.
Just to give an idea of the potential for U.S. offshore wind power, a recent study by Stanford researchers found that "U.S. East Coast offshore winds [could] produce from 965 to 1,372 terawatt hours of electricity annually, enough to satisfy the demands of one-third of the United States, or all of the East Coast, from Florida to Maine."
Meanwhile, other countries and regions are racing ahead. For instance, Scotland expects "to provide 'a huge part of the European footprint' for offshore wind power – equivalent to 25 per cent of the continent’s capacity," and "offshore wind industry is central to the Scottish government’s plans to generate the equivalent of half its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2015." For its part, Denmark recently announced that it "will invite bidding to build 450 megawatts of offshore wind parks at six sites as the country seeks to replace coal-fired plants with renewables." And China "has a target to install 5,000 megawatts of offshore wind farms by 2015 as it seeks to meet growing energy demand without adding to emissions." Given all this activity around the world, it's good to see the United States also starting to move forward aggressively on offshore wind power development.