Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Floating turbines research on track as new wind power study touts value of offshore power generation

13 Sep 2012

PORTLAND, Maine--A consortium of environmental groups released a report Thursday touting the value of offshore wind power along the Atlantic seaboard and urges federal and state governments to act aggressively to support its development, even as Maine researchers are moving toward placing a scale model of a floating turbine in the Gulf of Maine next spring.

Catherine Bowes and Justin Allegro of the National Wildlife Federation wrote the new report, titled "The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy". Representatives from the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Environment Maine, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Maine AFL-CIO attended a press conference to make the report public on Thursday morning.

"Congress is now debating whether to continue huge subsidies for big oil and gas, and whether to extend support for clean renewable energy sources like wind", Dylan Voorhees, clean energy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said in a release announcing the report. "In Maine, we are fortunate to have a large, untapped potential for clean, homegrown, offshore wind power. Maine people, businesses and workers agree that offshore wind power can help Maine people and our economy and environment as we cut our addiction to dirty, imported fossil fuels".

The report notes that the United States generates no power from offshore wind at present, but that "recent actions by the federal government, along with bipartisan leadership from coastal state officials, have put critical building blocks in place--a€" bringing us closer than ever before to finally tapping this massive domestic energy source". Progress reports on offshore wind development in 10 Atlantic Coast states and a discussion of how to develop offshore wind farms without threatening wildlife are included in the 54 page document.

Among the report's recommendations are to elevate the Department of Energy's scenario for achieving 54 GWs of cost-effective offshore wind power by 2030 as a national priority; codify goals for renewable energy generation; extend tax incentives including the federal Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind, the Production Tax Credit and Advanced Energy Project Credit; take direct action to secure buyers for offshore wind power; increase funding to the US Energy and Interior departments and relevant state agencies to support research and deployment of offshore wind power; enact strict pollution reduction policies related to all power sources; and coordinate offshore wind power development decisions with federal, state, tribal and regional coastal and marine spatial planning efforts "in a manner that is consistent with the goals of America's National Ocean Policy".

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