Oceana Releases Report Revealing the Job Potential of Offshore Wind Energy

In January, Oceana released a report revealing that offshore wind could produce twice the amount of jobs and energy as offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

The report, Offshore Energy by the Numbers, An Economic Analysis of Offshore Drilling and Wind Energy in the Atlantic, combats recent claims by oil and gas leaders that opening the East Coast to offshore drilling would lead the U.S. to energy independence, create thousands of jobs, and generate millions of dollars in revenue. The report’s findings, instead, show that the projected benefits are likely inflated due to the inclusion of resources that are not economically recoverable. The industry estimates also rely on an assumption of a non-existent state revenue-sharing system.

According to the report’s author, Andrew Menaquale, “Our report compares economically recoverable oil and gas development to conservative estimates of offshore wind development to allow an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison of the energy and jobs that would be created by each source. The American public deserves to know the facts when it comes to expanding this dirty and dangerous practice to the East Coast, and what alternatives there are for clean energy generation.”

The report also found that offshore oil and gas development along the East Coast could put some of the 1.4 million jobs and $95 billion GDP that rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, at risk. Oceana says that the threats of offshore drilling could begin well before a rig ever reaches the water.

Said Menaquale, “Based on the government’s own estimates, seismic blasting in the Atlantic could harm fish populations while injuring as many as 138,000 marine mammals like whales and dolphins, disturbing the vital activities of as many as 13.5 million more. Instead of working to fully understand the implications of rushing to develop offshore oil and gas, our elected officials are being blinded by imaginary short-term profits and missing the real opportunity that wind provides.”

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Within 13 years, offshore wind may generate more energy than that provided by all of the economically recoverable offshore oil and gas resources.
  • In 20 years, offshore wind could create roughly 91,000 more jobs than offshore drilling.
  • A gradual development of offshore wind on the East Coast over 20 years could generate enough energy to power over 115 million households.
  • If all of the economically recoverable offshore oil and gas in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf were utilized, oil demand would be met for less than five months; gas demand for less than 10 months at current rates.
  • The Atlantic Ocean contains less than four percent of the U.S.’s total oil reserves and less than three percent of its gas reserves.

Menaquale went on to say that “[u]nlike offshore drilling, offshore wind provides power directly to coastal communities where we need energy the most, without the risk of oil spills or carbon pollution. It’s time for the U.S. to use the lessons learned from more than 20 years of offshore wind development internationally and apply them to generating clean, renewable energy off our coasts.”