Last week we offered a general overview of the Obama administration’s new Ocean Policy Task Force and expressed our concerns that this well-intentioned effort to help the world’s oceans thrive could result in a set of arbitrary restrictions on different industries that depend on oceans and coastal waters. This week, we direct you to the concerns of the American Wind Energy Association, which has done a good job of articulating how easily a well-intentioned plan may veer of course.
You can read AWEA’s full, 14-page response to the Task Force’s initial report here. Essentially, while the wind energy industry fully supports efforts to improve the health of the world’s oceans, it worries that imposing arbitrary limits to industrial activity in offshore waters (and the windy skies above them) could choke off efforts to expand wind power in the U.S. at the very point that the industry is gaining widespread support.
Wind and oil have a lot in common. They are both major sources of power, they have both identified offshore waters as some of the areas that offer the most potential, and they have both encountered resistance from a broad array of groups that stand under an “environmentalist” label, but often have no bigger concerns than that an oil rig or a wind mill on the horizon ruins the view. Which does seem to beg the question: Does a solar panel ruin the “view” of a house? And why do we so often object to images that represent the responsible harnessing of our natural resources?
But anyway, the wind sector, like the oil sector, has watched in frustration as other countries allow responsible use onshore and off, while progress here at home is put on hold.
“For offshore wind to make a significant contribution,” AWEA wrote in its formal response to the Ocean Policy Task Force, “the process of permitting and building the first generation projects of U.S. offshore wind farms as well as developing the needed supply chain and industry-specific infrastructure must get underway.”
The movement toward achieving a balanced domestic power industry and reducing our dependence on foreign oil has seen enough delay. Please continue to make your voice heard to ensure that the Ocean Policy Task Force does not lead to further setbacks. Both the oil sector and the wind sector have made a lot of progress in recent months. We need to keep the momentum going.