Offshore Wind Power and Baltimore’s Future

McClatchy produced an excellent article yesterday reviewing a new study that shows offshore wind farms off the East Coast would produce much more energy than would be produced by offshore drilling.  There are some excellent numbers cited in the piece that will give you a clear idea of how important offshore wind power development is to US energy security and economic prosperity.

The strong winds off the Atlantic Ocean could become a cost-effective way to power much of the East Coast — especially North and South Carolina, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia, a new study released Tuesday says.

The report by the conservation advocacy group Oceana argues that offshore wind could generate 30 percent more electricity on the East Coast than could be generated by the region’s untapped oil and gas. It predicts that wind from the ocean could be cost competitive with nuclear power and natural gas to produce electricity.

The study appears just as new developments are starting to push U.S. efforts to catch up with Europe and China on tapping the energy in offshore wind. Great Britain last week opened the world’s largest wind farm, and China built its first pilot offshore wind farm in 2008, using turbines from the nation’s largest wind turbine producer, Sinovel.


“Offshore wind energy can help the nation reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, diversify its energy supply, provide cost-competitive electricity to key coastal regions, and stimulate economic revitalization of key sectors of the economy,” the study says.

The Oceana study also describes how far behind the US is falling in offshore wind development.  China’s first project was operational in 2008, and China is making massive investment in new projects.  Europe has been at it for 20 years and new development is expanding rapidly.  The US doesn’t have a single offshore wind farm in operation, thanks mainly to former Gov. Mitt Romney, Senator Ted Kennedy, sometime environmental champion Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the oil billionaires on the southern coast of Cape Cod.

Note to Baltimore Sun business editor: If you want to keep your city in its 50 year old industrial tailspin, keep promoting PATH.  If you want Baltimore to become a powerhouse of steel fabrication, construction and maintenance of offshore wind farms, it can happen, but not if AEP/Allegheny’s subsidized coal-fired power floods eastern power markets.  The pending PATH project is one of the big reasons why major offshore wind investors are holding back on new projects.  You need to wake up and join the fight against PATH and for your city’s future.

By the way, if you think coal is cheap, check this out.  Read the comments below the post at Coal Tattoo.  These are people in the coal industry in West Virginia saying Appalachian coal is running out.  Coal power will become much more expensive very soon.  Wind is forever, and free.  The Baltimore Sun needs to see a little more business thinking from its business section.