Today, the Obama administration proposed to eliminate a speedbump on the road to clean wildlife-friendly energy.  The Interior Department said they are doing away with an unnecessary and redundant step in the procedures it uses to initiate the leasing process for offshore wind power. NWF supports the step, as we want to encourage wind power leasing in parts of the ocean that will have little to no negative impact on wildlife.  Wind power and other renewable energy, after all, will be critical to reducing our depenence on high carbon fuels that speed global warming.

NWF recognized in our December report , the generation of electricity via utility-scale offshore wind energy is an important component of that needed transition to cleaner energy. Currently the U.S. is trailing Europe and China in this arena, and we still don’t have a single turbine spinning offshore.  Today’s announcement could help speed needed change.

That report identified the gigantic opportunity for clean energy development off our shores in a way that ensure the protection of the Atlantic Ocean and its precious resources. Our report said one key barrier was a need to improve the process so we could more rapidly and responsibly get turbines spinning.

“This streamlined approach could cut up to a year off the leasing process for some commercial wind energy projects in the Atlantic,” Secretary Salazar said. “It would increase regulatory efficiency without affecting our ability to rigorously review, analyze and monitor projects to assure they are carried out in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”

The proposed regulatory change could substantially reduce the development timeline, creating more certainty for habitat-friendly offshore wind projects. And that’s just the kind of progress that make responsible offshore wind generation such an exciting and sustainable solution to our long-term energy concerns.