Offshore wind power in Atlantic waters could supply nearly half the current electricity generation of the East Coast and create up to 200,000 jobs or more, an environmental group concludes in a study released Tuesday.
The study by Oceana, an environmental group focused on oceanic issues, predicts winds along the East Coast have the potential to deliver 30 percent more electricity than "economically recoverable" offshore oil and gas in the same region.
The study also estimates that the emerging offshore wind industry would create between 133,000 and 212,000 jobs annually in the U.S. - more than three times the estimated future job creation through expanded offshore oil and gas drilling.
The authors of "Untapped Wealth: The Potential of Offshore Energy to Deliver Clean, Affordable Energy and Jobs" said they studied potential offshore wind tracts 3 to 24 miles off the East Coast in depths of 30 meters (98 feet) or fewer and used conservative estimates to arrive at their conclusions.
Many of the assumptions, such as job generation, are based on experience in Europe, which has a far-advanced offshore wind industry.