From red state to blue, ten governors of states bordering the East Coast of the U.S. have joined forces to endorse the development of wind energy farms on the Outer Continental Shelf. The list includes Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virgina.
So much for all that new offshore oil drilling along the East Coast that was supposed to happen. Though some of the ten governors have refrained from openly opposing Atlantic Coast oil drilling, the “neighbor effect” virtually guarantees that they’re not going to welcome it with open arms. Given the mess that BP’s oil spill has made of the tourism and fishing industries in the Gulf Coast, any new exploitation of East Coast waters for fossil fuels will have to get past ten governors who have put politics aside in favor of an energy source that creates new green jobs and supports existing industries instead of destroying them.
The Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium
The ten governors signed a memorandum of understanding that officially creates the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium, which according to a Department of Interior press release is expected to generate thousands of jobs in manufacturing, construction, and operations relating to new wind energy development. Six of the ten states have also formed intergovernmental task forces with DOI to facilitate commercial wind energy leasing arrangements. Florida and South Carolina have not signed on to the M.O.U., but they have established leasing task forces with DOI. Georgia is also apparently cooperating in some form. Along with wind power, the Consortium and the task forces will also seek to promote solar energy and other renewables, coordinated by a new regional DOI renewable energy office centrally located in Virginia.
Wind Power and Green Jobs
According to KPMG International’s annual outlook for renewable energy, wind energy, biomass and solar are running practically neck and neck when it comes to investment, which in turn drives the potential for green jobs. The U.S. EPA is giving an assist with its new brownfields-to-renewable-energy program called Re-Powering America’s Land, which includes wind turbine installations along with solar and other renewables. While much of the U.S. wind turbine market is supplied from overseas, U.S. manufacturing has been rapidly catching up, partly with the aid of overseas turbine manufacturers that are creating thousands of new green jobs by locating their factories here in the U.S.
Image: Wind sock by Joe Shlabotnik
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.