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American offshore wind power is here

The first offshore wind turbines have been erected off the coast of Rhode Island.
American offshore wind power is here
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Deepwater Wind completed construction on the country’s first offshore wind farm on Friday, proving to the world that when it comes to offshore wind power, the U.S. is open for business.

This pioneering project is the result of years of dogged determination by the visionary Deepwater Wind and their funders, D.E. Shaw. And while the completion of construction is a historic milestone, it must not be seen as a successful one-off, but rather as the dawn of an entirely new U.S. energy industry.

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Offshore wind has delivered vast amounts of clean energy to Europe for decades while creating quality jobs, new high-tech manufacturing and a bustling maritime industry. In time, American offshore wind power could be bigger than in Europe. We see that pathway emerging today through landmark legislation in Massachusetts, progressive policies in other states and a growing interest in American projects from the world’s most successful offshore wind developers.

There are currently 13 offshore wind projects spanning 10 states in various stages of development, representing almost 6,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity in off the East, West and Great Lakes coasts. Offshore wind energy is a proven technology that has provided clean power and quality jobs for decades. Combined with 18 gigawatts of land-based wind energy that’s currently under construction or in the advanced stages of development, that’s enough clean electricity to power millions of American homes.

Offshore wind blows the strongest where it’s needed most – alongside America’s largest population centers. Using the largest, most-efficient turbines that can access the strongest, steadiest winds, offshore wind power has the potential to deliver vast amounts of reliable, clean electricity while attracting billions in private investment and creating quality jobs. With America’s first project now finished, we’re about see firsthand that offshore wind works here too.

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Nancy Sopko is the Director of Offshore Wind and Federal Legislative Affairs at the American Wind Energy Association. In this role, Nancy is the lead on offshore wind issues for the association and focuses on building the political power of wind by increasing the level of engagement between AWEA’s member companies and Members of Congress and the administration. Before joining AWEA, Nancy worked at Oceana, a nonprofit ocean conservation advocacy organization, where she focused on promoting offshore wind development. Nancy also worked as Legislative Counsel for the Hon. John H. Adler (NJ-03) (deceased), the New Jersey State Legislature, and is a licensed attorney in the state of New Jersey.

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