A new report has shown that an average-sized offshore wind farm located off the Atlantic Coast of the United States could result in billions in economic benefits and yield thousands of jobs in states such as New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Authored by California-based BW Research on behalf of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2, an affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)) and published last week, the new report — Offshore Wind: Generating Economic Benefits on the East Coast — studied the economic impact of building a single average-sized offshore wind farm (where ‘average-sized’ is defined as 325 megawatts (MW) and made up of approximately 44 wind turbines) off the coast of five Atlantic Coast states — New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. According to the research, if such an offshore wind farm was built off each of the five coasts, the offshore projects would result in nearly 25,000 construction and operational jobs — with an average of just under 5,000 jobs per state — and generate a cumulative $3.6 billion in economic benefits.
“This report proves offshore wind energy has the potential to add jobs, tax dollars and economic benefits these states while protecting their coastal economies,” said Grant Carlisle, E2 Director of Advocacy. “This is a good deal for states and businesses, bringing in far more investment and tax revenue than the cost of the wind farm – nearly double in some states.”
The report also compared the benefits of offshore wind development as compared to the potential threat of offshore oil and gas development on tourism and recreation sectors — a very real potential given the Trump Administration’s proposed plans to open up a significant portion of federal coastal waters to expanded offshore drilling. The report’s findings were stark, concluding that a single month of beach and fishing closures due to an oil spill would cost the five states more than $2.7 billion in GDP and $1.3 billion in lost wages.
“More drilling puts existing jobs in harm’s way, threatens state economies, and would sacrifice our remaining expanses of healthy oceans,” said Ana Unruh Cohen, Managing Director of Government Affairs at NRDC. “Instead of foisting this give away on the public, the administration’s drilling plan should be tossed out before it causes lasting harm to America’s oceans and our collective bottom line.”
- South Carolina: 5,647 jobs created, $242 million in wages, and $877.8 million in total added to economy
- North Carolina: 5,522 jobs created, $251 million in wages, and $710 million in total added to economy
- Virginia: 4,377 jobs created, $108 million in wages, and $640.7 million in total added to economy
- New Jersey: 4,313 jobs created, $278.9 million in wages, and $702 million in total added to economy
- New York: 4,063 jobs created, $281 million in wages, and $737 million in total added to economy
Cost of One Month of Beach & Fishing Closures Due to Oil Spill:
- South Carolina – $117 million in lost wages and $314 million in GDP
- North Carolina – $57 million in lost wages and $120 million in GDP
- Virginia – $90 million in lost wages and $175 million in GDP
- New Jersey – $163 million in lost wages and $307 million in GDP
- New York – $870 million in lost wages and $1.8 billion in GDP
“While solar, clean vehicles, and energy efficiency continue to prove their importance to American job growth, offshore wind is the next important play, with enormous economic and quality jobs opportunity for the East Coast economy,” said Kit Kennedy, senior director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) climate and clean energy program. “That’s why it’s exciting that states up and down the East Coast are committing to move forward with big plans for offshore wind development with combined with smart ocean planning.”
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