I had the opportunity to meet with former Vice President Al Gore to discuss the impacts of climate change on Rhode Island. This included the marine impacts, such as warming bay waters, and increased intensity of storms.
The winds on Rhode Island’s waters made them the location of choice for the America’s Cup sailing races for over a century. While harnessing that wind for energy may be only a small piece of the global picture, it can contribute to broader efforts to mitigate climate change.
2013 may be a very windy year. All along the Atlantic Coast, offshore renewable power has been getting a boost. In states from North Carolina to Maine, growing support for wind energy has led to practical steps that will get this industry moving.
At a given time, our air is filled with thousands of planes intersecting each other’s flight paths in a coordinated fashion. The same is true for our ocean and its industries – and a new map shows just that. The New England Ocean Action Network (NEOAN), a group of organizations supportive of ocean planning, created the map to illustrate just how many different activities occur in the ocean – ferry routes, shipping lanes, sanctuary boundaries, fishing grounds, whale habitat and proposed wind energy areas, to name a few. Imagine trying to coordinate these uses so that they don’t all end up on top of each other or harm to the ecosystem on which they depend.
This coordination is one of the goals of the National Ocean Policy. Each of nine regions around the country will establish a Regional Planning Body (RPB), comprised of representatives from state and federal agencies, tribal members and the regional fishery management council. These regional groups will be guided by local stakeholders and the public and will work to create a plan to guide the various uses of the oceans for its member states. The New England RPB will be holding its first meeting next week – the first official meeting of any around the country – to begin the creation of a plan for its coasts and oceans.
Good news came out of Delaware today with the announcement that an offshore wind lease has been granted eleven miles off the state’s coast, serving as the first lease completed under the Department of the Interior’s ‘Smart from the Start’ initiative designed to responsibly develop offshore wind. And with the findings of a recent study, the emerging offshore wind industry has outstanding potential to not only strengthen our energy security, but create jobs and benefit the American economy.
A study conducted for the Atlantic Wind Connection confirmed earlier this month that large-scale development of offshore wind would create more than 70,000 jobs through the manufacturing, building, operating, and maintaining of massive turbines in the Mid-Atlantic region. With the 40,000 additional jobs needed to serve this supply chain, this adds up to over 110,000 new jobs created by the development of this nascent industry on the East Coast. Continue reading »