Progress on offshore wind power in three Northeast states last week calls for a news round-up:
Last Thursday, the National Wildlife Federation hosted a State House briefing on offshore wind power with ten state partners, including our state affiliate, the Environmental League of Massachusetts.
The standing-room-only event attracted participation from ten state legislators, many staff members, industry representatives, environmental organizations, and media. The event, co-sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Mark Montigny and Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Pat Haddad, focused on the immense offshore wind power opportunity currently available to Massachusetts and the urgency of passing a strong policy to help bring it to fruition.
With large coal and nuclear plants on track for retirement in the coming years, leadership needs to quickly decide what the Massachusetts energy mix will look like for decades to come. The environmental community came together yesterday to underscore the importance of prioritizing large-scale offshore wind power in the pivotal conversations underway.
Also last Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made a highly anticipated announcement: he vetoed the proposed Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas terminal off of Jones Beach, citing the potential conflict with renewable energy development in the same spot. The Governor’s announcement clears the biggest obstacle out of the way of an opportunity to tap into the world-class wind resource more than 14 miles south of Nassau County, capable of powering approximately 250,000 homes.
“The National Wildlife Federation commends New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to reject a fossil fuel facility off of Long Island, which raised a whole set of important concerns by citizens across New York. Having grown up on Long Island, I am proud that the rallying cry across the state is to build on New York’s innovation economy and clean energy future. The largest untapped renewable resource is offshore wind, and today’s decision opens the door for the Governor to lead New York into the future with offshore wind that will create jobs, protect our communities, and clean our air. The sun is rising for offshore wind and setting on fossil fuels.”
– Curtis Fisher, NWF Northeast Regional Executive Director
Last Monday morning, the Federal government held its fifth competitive lease auction for a Wind Energy Area in deep federal waters. This auction follows a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process to identify areas of the ocean suitable for offshore wind development.
Areas now in the hands of lease holders have the potential to generate clean, local power for about 1.2 million homes. Now, the Christie Administration needs to move the state’s offshore wind power policy forward to ensure there is a stable market in place for the power these projects can generate.
Each of these stories point to the need for continued state leadership in the months and years ahead, to launch the robust offshore wind industry that can be a pillar of America’s clean energy future. Cheers to a big week. These are signals that our call for responsibly developed offshore wind power is being heard, so thank you all for continuing to add your voices. It’s working!