We need offshore wind power now


Wind Energy JobsI keep hearing about Offshore Wind Farms as if they were some Disney-themed adventure park being built offshore instead of something that has to be done. Will the turbines be visible in my horizon? Will we have to pay more for the power it produces than for coal and oil and so on?

These are real issues, but there are other more important issues we need to think about. A total national energy strategy is needed now more than ever. For example, recent studies have been looking closely at the question of just how clean electric vehicles are given that they are probably fueled by coal fired power plants and that has to be taken into consideration.

Studies by the Electric Power Research Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council have found that if you compare plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) with conventional vehicles, the PHEV would have up to 34 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) compared to a conventional vehicle, depending on how the electricity was generated. But the same PHEV has up to 11 percent higher GHG emission if it’s running electricity generated by outdated coal-fired power plants such as those that are prevalent in China.

The study found that a PHEV emits about the same GHG emissions as a standard hybrid if it is running on electricity from pulverized coal, but once the electricity comes from natural gas, renewables, biomass or any coal plant with carbon capture, the PHEV performs far better than an internal-combustion engine and better than a hybrid.

The issue should not be one of transferring the inhaling of those fine particulates from where the majority of the cars are to urban electricity production areas. We need to create electricity with clean renewable energy. In other words for electric vehicles to be a healthier option, renewable energy has to be part of a total energy strategy. I don’t see that message being communicated clearly, if at all.

So, we need offshore wind farms, solar power plants, geothermal and hydro. Any way to get rid of the pollution is a win for all of us.

The argument that electric vehicles are worse than gasoline vehicles because of the increased demand on coal-producing power plants is a real argument, but one that can easily be eliminated. That’s right eliminated.  The potential for renewable energy is enormous and coupled with EVs makes it even bigger. The money we are wasting is never coming back.

Opposing forces are at work here because no one wants to lose his or her personal gravy train. But we have to lead and leave those old ways behind us. Yes, there will be issues along the way, such as how we structure taxes and fees to build and maintain our infrastructure. The resultant future will be one with less asthma and other related issues that also cost society money.

Call your state and federal elected representatives today and tell them you support the offshore wind bills and that solar and all types of renewables are a must - not a theme park in the horizon.

By George Lopez, Publisher and Executive Director of Solar and Wind Living