Offshore wind farms could exceed the entire electricity demand of the US, according to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
“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,” he told a recent meeting.
Figures from a recent study by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) indicate that offshore wind turbines located in shallow waters (less than 30 m) off the coast of 28 of the lower 48 states could meet at least 20% of those regions’ electricity demand.
Deeper waters, which are currently unfeasible to harness, could contribute around a further 1700 GW to meet remaining demand.
In total, NREL identified more than 1000 GW of wind potential off the Atlantic coast and at least a further 900 GW off the Pacific Coast.
The Department of the Interior, which manages one-fifth of the nation’s land mass and 1.7 billion acres of ocean off the coasts, will be central to developing wind power, says Salazar. There are currently proposals for over 2000 MW of offshore wind projects in the pipeline.
“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,” said Salazar.
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09 April 2009