WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 2, 2012) – The Obama administration today moved forward with plans to develop the enormous offshore wind energy resources along the Mid-Atlantic, using a smart-from-the-start approach that has the potential to expedite the process while incorporating strong environmental protections, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The administration released plans for developing waters off New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. Offshore wind power could create thousands of jobs and generate power for millions of homes in the region.
Specifically, the Department of Interior approved “wind energy areas” off the coasts of these states where projects can move through the regulatory approval process more quickly, as well as model lease language and environmental review documents for the initial site assessment process, which is the first step in developing an offshore wind project.
The smart-from-the-start approach means taking into account the need to protect ocean ecosystems, wildlife and existing human uses in order to site things where they make the most sense. This is the kind of progress anticipated to increase as the administration implements the National Ocean Policy created by the President in 2010.
The following is a statement from Kit Kennedy, Clean Energy Counsel at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“Harnessing the wind blowing off our shores will allow us to power American homes with clean, domestic energy – and create tens of thousands of badly-needed jobs in the process. By developing these resources in a way that’s smart from the start, the administration can give this budding industry the boost it needs to start delivering the economic, health and environmental benefits it promises. It’s time to capture this untapped potential and for the offshore wind industry to take flight in the Mid-Atlantic.
“NRDC will be carefully reviewing the documents released by federal authorities today to ensure that appropriate environmental protections and mitigation measures have been incorporated and will continue to advocate for smart siting of offshore wind projects.”