Zinke Is ‘Very Bullish’ On Developing Offshore Wind Energy
The Trump administration is working with northeastern states to build offshore wind farms in the Atlantic ocean, the Washington Examiner reported.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has received significant pushback from officials in the Northeast over a plan to open the East Coast to offshore drilling. Wind energy is much more popular with the local residents and lawmakers, though. (RELATED: Eastern States Opposed To Offshore Drilling Just Approved A Massive Offshore Wind Farm)
“When the president said energy dominance, it was made without reference to a type of energy,” Zinke told the Washington Examiner. “It was making sure as a country we are American energy first and that includes offshore wind. There is enormous opportunity, especially off the East Coast, for wind. I am very bullish.”
Massachusetts and Rhode Island recently signed off on a 1,200 megawatt wind farm to be built off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. The wind farm could be the largest constructed in the U.S. Massachusetts awarded a contract to Vineyard Wind to supply 800 megawatts of power to the state, and Rhode Island commissioned another 400 megawatts from Deepwater Wind.
“Market excitement is moving towards offshore wind,” Zinke told the Washington Examiner. “I haven’t seen this kind of enthusiasm from industry since the Bakken shale boom.”
Wind farm projects may meet resistance from Northeast fishermen, however. Building turbines in the middle of prime fishing locations disrupts the marine ecosystem and can drive away or kill many fish. (RELATED: Offshore Wind Power Will ‘Absolutely Cost Jobs’ Of US Fishermen)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, backs offshore wind development, a stance that has put him at odds with local fishermen.
“If New York Governor Cuomo’s administration gets what it wants from offshore wind, that’s thousands of fishing jobs. It’ll rip the coastal communities apart,” Long Island Commercial Fishing Association executive director Bonnie Brady told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a May 2017 interview.
The wind energy interests are backing plans to expand offshore wind development across the Atlantic coast. The area is ideal for fields of turbines to capture and create energy from the coastal winds, experts say.
“There is enough wind out there to generate all of the electricity needs on the East Coast,” Stephanie McClellan, University of Delaware’s director of the special initiative on offshore wind, told the Washington Examiner. “You have the Saudi Arabia of offshore wind sitting there on the East Coast, waiting to be built and developed.”