An amazingly high percentage of people who live down the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard from New York to Virginia want wind turbines off their coast.
Even if they can be seen from the shoreline, 67 percent support off-shore wind power, according to a new poll of coastal residents of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia .
If the turbines are out of sight, the level of support goes up to an astounding 82 percent.
A full 25 percent of the population of the US lives in the nine Atlantic states from Massachusetts to North Carolina. The potential is staggering. So it is very fortunate that so many people in the middle of part of the region with such great potential for wind power feel this way.
Off-shore wind power off the Atlantic could take one third of the US population off the fossil grid.
The off-shore energy potential down all nine Atlantic states is a colossal 330 gigawatts. That is almost twice the total amount the nine states use: 185 gigawatts. The job would take over 160,000 5 MW turbines spaced about a mile apart down the coast. This would be an energy superhighway.
NIMBYism has been the impediment for development of off-shore wind power off the East Coast. This poll certainly had surprising findings, for the middle five of this nine-state wind powerhouse.
Most of the residents polled in the five middle states lived within a block or so of the ocean, three quarters of them are homeowners; about 15 percent with waterfront property. A third of the people are 60 or older.
Fully 90 percent of these coastal dwellers really get out and enjoy beach activities, swimming, walking, crabbing and clamming and they put a higher priority on protecting the coastal environment (76%) than improving the economy (69%), lowering taxes (65%), improving education (64%), or controlling growth (56%)
In March 2009, the governors of the five states in the middle of this wind energy goldmine had initiated an effort to develop an interstate agreement on ocean and coastal management for the Mid-Atlantic region. While NOAA funded a grant for the Urban Coast Institute and Polling Institute at Monmouth University to do the poll, coincidentally, the governors of the five states would need to know if there was any agreement on coastal development.
The Department of the Interior is developing a Comprehensive Energy Plan on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. There is a surprising level of agreement among coastal residents in the five states about what the government should do on a range of issues of interest to coastal dwellers.
While the poll questions covered many coastal issues, what jumped out at me was that these residents really agree on wind power off the Atlantic Seaboard.
[photo credit: Flickr]