By Carol McCracken (Post # 646)
“There are nearly a thousand offshore wind turbines spinning right now in Europe, and not a single one here in the Atlantiac Ocean…yet the energy generation potential off our shores is immense. It is time that we take advantage of this significant clean energy source right off our coast and begin the transition to a cleaner, energy independent future,” said Catherine Bowes, climate policy representative for the National Wildlife Federation. Bowes remarks came this morning at GMRI where a 61 page “NWF” report, “Offshore Wind in the Atlantic,” was released.
While Maine often touts its deep-water harbors along the coast, these deep waters require floating platforms on which turbines can be mounted. This is a different kind of technology than shallow off-shore areas require. Leading the deep-water offshore wind technology development is Dr. Habib Dagher, P.E., Director, at the University of Maine lab, Orono. “We need to get going and get this project off the ground,” said Bowers.
“Offshore wind is ready to take off in Maine, but the Obama Administration must first clear the runway,” said Emily Figdor, Director of Environment Maine. “We hope the Administration will focus on offshore wind and not offshore oil drilling for the sake of our coast and building a sensible path towards clean energy. Maine can reduce its dirty, unpredictable and dangerous dependence on oil,” Figdor added. Also citing that other nations have offshore turbines spinning today, Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (Augusta) urged policy changes, such as improving the federal offshore wind permitting process, identifying ideal, high priority sites with limited resource conflicts off of the Atlantic for quick and thorough permitting, investing in and speeding up research of offshore wind technology and environmental impacts and cordinating planning with existing infrastructure and industries such as ports and fishing.
Other experts at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute press conference called for Maine tapping into abundant clean offshore wind energy resources in order to become independent of fossil fuels to heat homes, power our vehicles, remove us from fuel price rollercoaster and from a primary source of climate change.
Iraq war veteran, Andrew Campbell, called for an end to our dependence on foreign oil since we are funding those who are anti-American by our purhcase of oil from them.
The report was released along the coast today in conjunction with over 40 national and state partners. The full report may be seen at: www.nrcm.org