The National Wildlife Federation supports environmentally-responsible development of offshore wind power projects in the Atlantic as a critical component of achieving a clean energy future for America that is needed to protect wildlife populations and their habitats across all states from the dangerous effects of climate change.
The National Wildlife Federation recognizes that:
Climate change is the single greatest threat facing the nation’s wildlife.
Carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and power our transportation system is the primary contributor to climate change.
- Wind energy currently generates only five percent of America’s electricity.
- America has vast offshore wind energy resources in the Atlantic Ocean, with over 1,300 gigawatts of clean electricity generation potential identified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
- Atlantic offshore wind power is one of America’s largest untapped renewable energy sources and has great potential to replace fossil fuel emissions and protect wildlife and people from the dangers of climate change, while also creating significant economic and workforce development opportunities, diversifying our energy portfolio, and producing lower and more stable energy prices especially through long term contracts.
- Europe has been demonstrating that offshore wind turbines are a proven technology that produces clean energy and jobs from its offshore wind resources for over two decades, without significant impacts to marine systems and avian species. The offshore wind market is expanding. China and Japan have begun building offshore wind projects, and other countries such as Brazil and South Korea are also mobilizing to generate large percentages of their power from offshore wind sources.
- All energy development has some effect on wildlife, and offshore wind power has significantly fewer negative effects than many of its alternatives. As demonstrated by many studies and reports, including the State of Rhode Island’s Ocean Special Area Management Plan, offshore wind power can be developed in an environmentally-responsible manner, with strong wildlife protections guiding the selection of project locations and requirements for best management practices in pre-development, construction, operations, and decommissioning activities.
- The U.S. Department of the Interior launched an offshore renewable energy leasing program in 2010, began leasing areas in federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean for offshore wind development in the summer of 2013, and has announced a significant amount of acreage set for auction in 2014.
- The National Wildlife Federation works in partnership with our affiliates and other key partners to build and demonstrate support for appropriately-sited offshore wind power, ensuring that strong wildlife protections and continued research and monitoring of possible effects upon wildlife and fisheries guide our pursuit of this much-needed clean energy source for America.
On this foundation, the National Wildlife Federation supports environmentally-responsible development of offshore wind power projects in the Atlantic as a critical component of achieving a clean energy future for America that is needed to protect wildlife populations and their habitats across all states from the dangerous effects of climate change and:
- calls on the U.S. Department of the Interior to move a leasing and permitting process forward for offshore wind power in the Atlantic Ocean that ensures strong and effective protections for wildlife populations during the pre-development, construction, operations, and decommissioning stages. This must include: comprehensive environmental review; coordination with state, local, and tribal governments; meaningful stakeholder engagement; transparency of process; comprehensive endangered species assessment and protection; environmental monitoring; respect for existing responsible ocean uses; and adaptive management planning and mitigation of effects upon wildlife and fisheries
- calls on the U.S Congress to pass critical incentives—such as an investment or production tax credits—needed to jumpstart an American offshore wind energy industry
- calls on Atlantic coast Governors and other state leaders to take actions necessary to ensure that environmentally-responsible offshore wind power plays a major role in their energy future