Richmond - The Obama administration has announced competitive lease sales for wind energy development in areas off the coasts of Virginia, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This is the first time that a portion of the outer continental shelf will be leased for renewable energy development. The area proposed for leasing off of Virginia’s coast is expected to be able to support more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generation – enough electricity to power an estimated 700,000 homes. Environment Virginia’s federal field organizer, Sarah Bucci, released the following statement in response:
“Virginia has huge potential for harnessing pollution-free wind energy off our coast, and is in the running to be the first in the nation to make this vision a reality. We are thrilled that the Obama administration has announced another critical step forward for offshore wind development and look forward to continuing to work with state and federal leaders to see turbines spinning off our coasts soon.
“Tapping into the power of Virginia’s offshore wind resources is vital to ensuring a future with cleaner air and fewer extreme weather events. Along the Atlantic coast alone, reaching the Department of Energy’s goal of 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power would reduce global warming pollution by the equivalent of taking roughly 18 million cars off the road. Meeting this benchmark would also generate $200 billion in new economic activity while creating more than 43,000 permanent, high-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction, engineering, operations, and maintenance, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
“We applaud this step forward and the Obama administration for their leadership in ensuring that responsibly-sited offshore wind becomes a reality in Virginia as soon as possible.”