Atlanta - Georgia could provide more than enough electricity to meet its 2019 electricity demand and over half of what it’s projected to use in 2050 with offshore wind, according to a new report released Thursday by Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. The report, Offshore Wind for America, examines U.S. offshore wind potential by both coastal region and by state, while documenting the status of existing projects and technological advances. Georgia could provide 112% of 2019 electricity usage with offshore wind alone.
“We have an enormous renewable resource blowing just off our coastline that can help close the gap between us and a 100 percent renewable energy future,” said Jennette Gayer, director with Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center. “The commitments made by Virginia, North Carolina and other Atlantic states should give Gov. Kemp the confidence to make our own legislative goals.”
The Atlantic coast has the largest offshore wind potential of any region of the country. With 29,369 miles of coastline and a shallow continental shelf that allows for fixed turbines far from shore, there is a tremendous amount of area along the eastern U.S. that could produce energy.
In fact, as a region, the Atlantic states have the technical potential to produce almost 4,600 TWh of electricity, more than four times as much electricity as those states consumed in 2019, and almost twice as much as they would use in 2050 if the country underwent maximal electrification of transportation, buildings and industry.
Unfortunately, Georgia is behind other states in our region. Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina recently entered into an agreement to work together on offshore wind development, a formal recognition of the importance of regional cooperation.
“Over a decade ago a feasibility study identified two suitable sites for wind farms off the coast of Georgia,” said Karen Grainey with the Center for a Sustainable Coast. “Since then, the climate crisis has grown ever more urgent. What are we waiting for?”
In addition to highlighting states that stand to provide the most offshore wind power relative to their electricity usage, the report also highlights how the success and growth of offshore wind globally in Europe and Asia has supported the continued advancements of offshore wind technologies. Turbine power and efficiency continue to improve, while the introduction of floating turbines will be crucial for expanding offshore wind potential in states with especially deep coastal water, such as Maine and California.
“Offshore Wind for America reminds us that offshore wind can and will rise to the occasion of meeting our energy needs right here in Georgia,” Gayer said. “This incredible resource is still largely untapped, but we have the chance to take advantage of it and build a resilient green future for Georgians. Now is the time to go big on offshore wind.”
Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and green spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit www.environmentgeorgiacenter.org.