by John Grooms
Theres both good and bad news when it comes to wind powers potential. A new, authoritative study by Oceana, a respected environmental group focused on oceanic issues, says offshore wind power in Atlantic waters could provide about half the electricity needed for the East Coast. The study predicts that North Carolina, Massachusetts and Delaware could generate all the power they need via offshore wind energy, while South Carolina, New Jersey and Virginia could produce around two-thirds of their needed energy. Not only that, putting such a plan in place would create up to 200,000 jobs or more, based on experience in Europe, where the offshore wind industry is far ahead of ours.
So whats the bad news? First of all, as BlueNC points out, Going from could to is requires vision and leadership that has (so far) been lacking on the energy front. And second, it's bad news that the U.S. is lagging far behind other countries that are relying on wind power now. As BlueNC blogger S.C. Harrison reminds us, We're not talking about a theoretical source of clean energy; Europe has been eating our lunch on this for years. In fact, Great Britain cranked up the largest offshore wind farm on earth last week; when the power from that wind farm is added to previous wind power capacity, it will be enough for Britain to power all the homes in Scotland. This is for real, folks, and it's happening right now, as our leaders schlep around doing nothing. As a pre-geezer who vividly remembers the days when the U.S. was the undisputed, hands-down leader in any and all technological innovation, its disheartening, to say the least, to find this countrys progress being held back by businesses and politicians that profit mightily from our addiction to oil and coal.
There is hope, though. U.S. senators from both parties Tom Carper, Olympia Snowe, Sherrod Brown, and Susan Collins, have introduced a bill to provide essential tax incentives to spur investment and production of offshore wind energy. If youd like to send a message to our senators, urging them to support the bill, go here.