Promises to Increase Offshore Wind Power are Full of Hot Air

Promises to Increase Offshore Wind Power are Full of Hot Air

March 30, 2021

On the heels of dramatic limitations on oil and gas exploration, the Biden Administration on Monday announced expensive new plans to try and spur growth in America’s ailing offshore wind energy industry. The Administration’s plan sets a target of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. 

But journalist Robert Bryce warns people to take offshore energy projects with a big grain of sea salt, and tweeted he would bet that the United States doesn’t come within 20 gigawatts of meeting the Administration’s goal.

In a Forbes article in February, Bryce discussed some of the hazards of offshore wind projects:

The history of offshore wind in domestic waters is replete with canceled plans … cost overruns, cabling problems, and permit delays. Furthermore, offshore wind continues to be one of the most expensive forms of electricity generation. That high-priced juice will cost ratepayers untold billions of dollars over the coming years. That means higher-cost electricity for low- and middle-income consumers.

In addition to these challenges, there is also the issue of the impact these projects will have on the ocean environment. As Bryce writes,

The forecast buildout of offshore wind in the U.S. will require industrializing vast swaths of some of the most heavily fished and navigated waters in North America. It will require anchoring thousands of offshore platforms along the Eastern Seaboard, which could interfere with marine mammal migration and wreak navigational havoc during a hurricane, major storm, or oil spill. It will also add yet more noise pollution to the already-noisy ocean. 

These environmental risks help explain why fishery groups are concerned about the Biden Administration plan. As Reuters reports, while the Administration is proposing $3 billion in public financing for wind energy companies, it provides a paltry $1 million for research into the effects of offshore wind on fisheries.

“Where’s our roadmap to not completely stomping out one of our main sources of food production and our main source of jobs in coastal communities?” Annie Hawkins, executive director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, said in an interview.

We have continued to warn that “green energy” policies have little to do with the environment, and more to do with the government picking winners and losers in the energy industry. Too often, these plans are just costly, bureaucratic, and environmentally harmful policies wrapped in catchy phrases and nice pictures. Americans should know the real impact that is coming from dismantling our nation’s domestic oil and gas industry.