The Cuomo administration today released a report that lays out crucial data that will help identify areas off New York’s shores that are of importance for wind energy siting and areas that need protection. This means that New York State is one step closer to safely and responsibly developing its offshore wind energy, while safeguarding valuable ocean habitats.
With abundant wind just beyond our shores, we know New York’s coastal waters offer great potential for homegrown clean energy development. New York ranks first among Mid-Atlantic states in offshore wind power potential. By transforming this abundant resource into electricity that powers our homes and cities, we can attract new businesses, create more jobs, and generate revenue for New York. And, as President Obama stressed, this renewable energy development will help us tackle climate change before it’s too late.
But this development must be done smart from the start. Without proper planning, even clean energy can have impacts on ocean wildlife and habitats. New York’s valuable ocean waters are already strained under the weight of pollution, destruction of marine habitats, and depleted fish stocks.
From commercial fishermen to Long Island hotel owners, New Yorkers know that their jobs depend on healthy ocean resources. Nearly 300,000 jobs statewide rely on ocean-related industries like fishing and tourism. Together, ocean industries contributed more than $20 billion to the state’s GDP in 2010. New offshore wind projects will generate significant numbers of new jobs in manufacturing, construction, and maintenance. Proper siting will ensure that all of these industries can continue to thrive together.
The release today by the New York Department of State is an important step in safe clean energy planning for ocean areas off New York. The Department of State worked with other state agencies like the Department of Environmental Conservation and other stakeholders like fishermen in mapping offshore resources and uses that can help identify areas suitable for wind development and those that should be safeguarded. Moving forward, this study will help policymakers identify the most efficient siting for clean energy projects, while minimizing conflicts with other industries and wildlife. That means that energy development, fishing, shipping, tourism, and other job-generators can continue to thrive.
We know that this common-sense planning strategy works. In fact, studies suggest that smart ocean planning like this would bring billions of dollars of benefits to the U.S. economy.
The NY Department of State analysis will help New York develop its offshore wind power faster, while better protecting ocean habitats and wildlife. It’s time for the U.S. to control its energy future, and with the safe siting of wind turbines off New York’s coast, the Empire State can play a major role. NRDC looks forward to reviewing the analysis and working with New York State officials to advance renewable energy and ocean protection.