On April 2, the Department of the Interior released a survey analyzing current data on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy resources. The report highlights how offshore wind energy appears particularly attractive as a renewable resource that is already technically and economically feasible. At the 25 x ’25 Renewable Energy Summit on April 1, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said “the wind potential off the coasts of the lower 48 states actually exceeds our entire U.S. electricity demand”.

Offshore wind resources are a promising renewable energy source as these winds are typically stronger and more consistent than those on land and because they tend to be closer to population centers with high electricity demand. This reduces the need for long transmission lines. The 28 states in the contiguous United States with coastal or Great Lake boundaries collectively consume 78 percent of the nation’s electricity. Wind resources over water up to 30 meters deep are the most technically and economically feasible to develop at this time; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) indicates that these shallow water sources alone could supply at least one fifth of the electricity demand in nearly all of these 28 coastal states.

The Atlantic OCS has the greatest short-term opportunity for developing renewable energy due to the prevalence of strong winds in shallow waters and their proximity to dense population centers. California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii also have strong winds but the deeper waters in these areas constrain practicability. Click here to view the NREL map of U.S. wind resources. The OCS report also describes the current state of development of other potentially significant offshore renewable energy sources including wave energy, tidal energy, and ocean current power, as well as oil and gas resources.

Secretary Salazar will hold four regional briefings in April to present survey findings and discuss the development and potential of offshore renewable energy supply. All interested individuals and organizations are invited to attend and offer brief comments or ask questions. More information about the meetings and the OCS report are available online at www.doi.gov/ocs .

Additional source: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-energy3-2009apr03,0...