Interior Report says Offshore Wind Power
An Interior Department report says U.S. offshore areas hold enormous potential for wind energy development near the nation's highest areas of electricity demand -- coastal metropolitan centers.
"More than three-fourths of the nation's electricity demand comes from coastal states and the wind potential off the coasts of the lower 48 states actually exceeds our entire U.S. electricity demand," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Salazar said information from the U.S. Geological Survey-Minerals Management Service Report will be a starting point for public comment meetings around the country in the next few weeks, starting in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and New Orleans, Louisiana, next week. The Executive Summary is online at http://www.doi.gov/ocs
Interior, which managers of one-fifth of the nation's land mass and 1.7 billion acres of ocean off the U.S. coasts, will have a major role in creating the nation's clean-energy future, Salazar said.
The Department's Bureau of Land Management has identified about 20.6 million acres of public land with wind energy potential in the 11 western states and 29.5 million acres with solar energy potential in the six southwestern states. There are also over 140 million acres of public land in the western states and Alaska with geothermal resource potential.
There is also significant wind and wave potential in U.S. offshore waters. The National Renewable Energy Lab has identified more than 1,000 gigawatts of wind potential off the Atlantic coast, and more than 900 gigawatts of wind potential off the Pacific Coast. The Lab estimates that the class 5 wind potential off the coasts of the lower 48 states exceeds the entire U.S. electricity demand. Currently, there are more than 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind projects proposed in the United States.
"We are opening our doors not just to oil and gas and coal, but also to the wise development of solar, wind and wave, biofuels, geothermal, and small hydro on America's lands," Salazar said.
Citing major findings from the report he commissioned from Interior scientists, Salazar also said the Outer Continental Shelf energy resources report found huge information gaps about the location and extent of offshore oil and gas resources.
"Along the Atlantic Coast, for example, the seismic data we have is twenty-five years old," Salazar said. "How should we gather the information we currently lack about our offshore oil and gas resources? How do we manage the costs of gathering seismic data? Are there areas on the OCS that should be of priority for information collection?"
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