Ignoring Offshore Wind Potential – Future Will Tell

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It’s election season in the U.S. and talk of energy plans is all the rage. And while wind gets its fair share of press perhaps politicians should look offshore for something more than drilling.

Offshore Wind Potential

The United States has thousands of miles of coastline that is rated either excellent, outstanding or superb for wind power potential by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). There seem to be plenty of potential sites off the coast of Northeast and Southern California cities that could benefit from clean, cost effective wind power.

The political and financial resources required to site wind farms off of U.S. shores have proven themselves to be quite substantial. The Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts is seven years in the making and counting. Meanwhile production costs have skyrocketed due to the rise in commodity prices. As a result the price of building an offshore wind farm may be too much to pay.

The economics may change soon as regional cap and trade schemes (RGGI for instance) and strict state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) take effect. Gathering the required political capital is not likely to become an easier task. Coastal states like their coastlines to remain pristine.

Then again, one should look to some of the photos coming out of Beijing to see what the skies over American cities could look like if we continue to rely so heavily on fossil fuel powered generation.

The United States is now the world leader in land based wind power production. One wonders what it will take for the U.S. to break the proverbial ice and leverage the energy assets that are within a few miles of our shores?

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