On December 11, leaders in conservation, public health and business, along with state and local officials, sent a letter urging President Obama to lead America to the clean, renewable, and home-grown energy frontier of offshore wind power. Signatories hailed from coast to coast, adding their voices to the rising call for executive advancement of offshore wind power development, despite stagnancy on Capitol Hill.
National Wildlife Federation has long called for the rapid, responsible development of offshore wind power as an imperative part of the strategy to protect wildlife from the urgent threat of climate change.
“Climate change is the single greatest threat to America’s wildlife this century and properly-sited offshore wind power is an essential part of the solution,” said Catherine Bowes, senior manager for climate and energy at the National Wildlife Federation. “Our ability to fight climate change and repower America with pollution-free energy hinges on bold action from our federal and state leaders. Congress must renew the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC) immediately to jumpstart this critical new clean energy source for America.”
2013 has been an exciting year for offshore wind power in the U.S.
- The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held the nation’s first competitive lease auctions for wind energy areas off the coasts of New England and Virginia, with three more expected in the coming months.
- New Bedford, Massachusetts broke ground on America’s first port terminal equipped to deploy offshore wind power infrastructure.
- The University of Maine deployed a model floating turbine, the first grid-connected turbine in U.S. waters.
- And in June, we heard President Obama share his commitment to doubling the amount of renewable energy generation on federal land and waters.
That being said, we still do not have a single offshore wind power project spinning in U.S. waters. Embracing a new energy technology is a long road and it is important to celebrate the miles we have put behind us, but now is the time to look forward, set our sights high, and pick up the pace.
Throughout the year, offshore wind advocates have focused their pressure on Congress, emphasizing the importance of extending an investment tax credit that is due to expire at the end of this year. Wednesday’s letter aims to remind President Obama of the importance of strengthening his pieces of the puzzle. In summary, the letter calls on the Obama Administration to:
- Set a bold goal for offshore wind development in the Atlantic.
- Support critical investments in offshore wind power.
- Spur markets for offshore wind power.
- Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited, built, and operated responsibly.
As critical a message this is, the most compelling piece of the letter may be what falls below the text. The hundreds of national, regional, state, and local organizations and representatives submitting this call for action paint a telling picture. Scan the list from top to bottom – it is strikingly holistic. Because while this year has been a relatively good one for offshore wind power, it has been yet another tough twelve months for wildlife and their habitat, for coastal communities and infrastructure, for the climate, and for local economies.
Responsibly sited offshore wind power development offers to diversify our energy portfolio, leading to lower and more predictable prices over time; high-quality, long-term jobs in both inland and coastal communities; an energy path that promotes clean air and water; and a critical opportunity to protect wildlife and future generations from the dangerous impacts of climate change. The National Wildlife Federation advocates every day for responsibly harnessing the plentiful energy resource just off our shores, and clearly, we are in great company.
Send a message to Congress today, letting them know you agree that offshore wind power is an energy solution that requires all hands on deck!