Offshore Wind Power | Motivation
Most ocean scientists consider recent findings (since mid-2003) on the effects of CO2 on the ocean to be alarming. These recent analyses predict effects that, compared to most effects predicted prior to 2003, are qualitatively more disruptive to humanity and to whole ecosystems. See the UD CEOE web site on CO2 for brief summaries. The largest CO2 source is electric generation and second is transportation. After systematically examining non-CO2 electric resources available in the US Northeast, we find offshore wind is the only cost-competitive electric source capable of large-scale implementation in the 40-year time frame (see article) needed to significantly reduce projected impacts. Other CO2 reduction measures should also be pursued (e.g. conservation, electrification of the vehicle fleet, and solar), but without offshore wind we know of no way to accomplish the needed 60%+ cuts in greenhouse gases in our region. Other regions will vary. There are many other motivations for offshore wind development, including creating local manufacturing and other jobs, reducing criteria pollution and associated health impacts, providing energy security and price stability, and improving US economic competitiveness.
Figure shows modeled changes in ocean pH from prior to the Industrial Era through
future projections due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The figure is from
Caldiera and Wickett, 2003 (see explanation under "ocean acidification" at http://co2.cms.udel.edu/ ).