Connecticut is a Contender in the Race for Offshore Wind

For Immediate Release

Hartford, CT – As the clock ticks down for Congress to extend critical tax credits for wind power, a new report shows that with continued state and federal leadership, Connecticut could soon realize the benefits of offshore wind.

Connecticut has immense untapped offshore wind energy resources, and the new report “The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy: Time for Action to Create Jobs, Protect Wildlife, & Secure America’s Energy Future”, written by the National Wildlife Federation and released today by Environment Connecticut, identifies key building blocks that local, state, and federal officials have put in place to usher in a future with offshore wind. For example, on July 30, 2012 Governor Malloy joined the New England Governors in passing a resolution that commits to issuing a joint Request for Proposals for renewable power contracts in 2013.

“In the race up and down the Atlantic to have the first offshore wind project, we can’t let Connecticut fall behind,” said Johanna Neumann, Regional Director for Environment Connecticut.  “Congress must extend the offshore wind tax credit before it expires at the end of the year so we can create good Connecticut jobs that produce pollution-free energy.”

Our reliance on fossil fuels has destroyed some of our most precious landscapes, is contributing to public health problems like asthma and heart attacks from dangerous air pollution, is fueling global warming, and is putting Connecticut’s coastline at risk.  Offshore wind can help Connecticut meet its energy needs without creating more pollution.
 
"Connecticut has an opportunity to take advantage of the huge clean energy source in nearby ocean waters, said Bill Moore, CEO of Deepwater Wind. “ Offshore wind can not only power thousands of homes and businesses, but it can create new jobs by tapping into one of our great domestic sources of power."

According to a 2010 National Renewable Energy Laboratory assessment, Connecticut’s offshore wind resource are 6.4 GW within 50 nautical miles of the coast, enough to satisfy 78% of Connecticut’s electricity needs in 2010.  

Connecticut’s leaders have been laying the groundwork to ramp up offshore wind. Connecticut has a requirement that utilities secure at least 20% of their electricity from clean renewable energy sources by 2020.  In addition, Connecticut has regulations in place requiring a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% from 1990 levels by 2050, and the state is a participant inthe Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Tapping into Connecticut’s offshore wind will be a critical component of meeting those goals.

The Atlantic coast is an ideal location for offshore wind energy because of its high electricity demand and population density along the coast.  Along the Atlantic coast alone, reaching the Department of Energy’s (DOE) goal of 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power would reduce carbon pollution by the equivalent of taking roughly 18 million cars off the road.  Meeting this benchmark would also generate $200 billion in new economic activity while creating more than 43,000 permanent, high-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction, engineering, operations, and maintenance, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

"Our state needs to invest in pollution-free offshore wind,” said Roger Smith, New England Energy Program Director for Clean Water Action. “Smart investments in wind will help free our residents from electric rate hikes driven by rising fossil fuel prices."

The broad base of support for offshore wind was demonstrated in late July when more than two-hundred environmental organizations, businesses, and local and state officials from up and down the Atlantic coast wrote a letter to federal officials calling for bold action to accelerate the development of offshore wind.  

Connecticut and national partners including business leaders, local and state elected officials, labor groups and environmental and clean energy organizations released the new report today up and down the Atlantic Coast. These groups call on state and federal officials to take the following steps to ensure the swift, environmentally sound ramp-up of offshore wind in the Atlantic:
•    Set a bold goal for offshore wind energy development in the Atlantic Ocean to provide clear leadership and vision.
•    Take decisive action to advance offshore wind energy development goals, including helping confront the financial challenges facing this new industry by extending the federal offshore wind investment tax credit, among other policies.
•    Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited, constructed, and operated responsibly in order to protect wildlife and avoid conflicts with other ocean uses.
•    Increase stakeholder coordination and public engagement.