Study: Offshore wind v. offshore drilling

The Wisconsin Gazette

Offshore wind could produce twice the number of jobs and twice the amount of energy as offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the environmental group Oceana.

The group challenges recent claims by the oil and gas industry that opening the East Coast to offshore drilling would lead the United States to energy independence, generate millions of dollars in revenue for states and create thousands of jobs.

Oceana said in its analysis, the benefits projected by the industry are exaggerated, due to the inclusion of oil and gas resources that are not economically recoverable. Industry estimates also rely on an assumption of a state revenue-sharing system that does not exist.

Oceana, in a report released in mid-January, also finds that offshore oil and gas development along the Atlantic could put at risk some of the nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product that rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation.

Other key findings:

• In 13 years, offshore wind could generate more energy than could be provided by all of the economically recoverable offshore oil and gas resources.

• In the next 20 years, offshore wind could create about 91,000 more jobs than offshore drilling — about double the job creation potential of offshore oil and gas.

• A modest and gradual development of offshore wind on the East Coast over the next 20 years could generate enough energy to power over 115 million households.