America's windiest spot looks to harness the ocean winds with some British help
A view of the Walney Extension offshore wind farm operated by Orsted off the coast of Blackpool, Britain, Sept. 5, 2018. Offshore wind in the United Kingdom is booming, approaching 10% of the electricity supply there. Credit: Phil Noble/Reuters
When Joseph Massi enrolled at Bristol Community College, an hour’s drive south of Boston, he chose to major in a brand new field of study — offshore wind power.
“It’s the new future. It’s where everything is going to be, the growth potential, especially in Massachusetts,” Massi says.
The Massachusetts legislature is considering bills that would commit the state to 100% renewable energy within 25 years. To achieve this, the state will need lots more solar panels and wind turbines, and people like Massi to manage, build or operate offshore turbines.
"Once it starts booming in the United States, that’s going to be where you’re want to be,” Massi says.
The federal government estimates that the coastal waters off of New Bedford, Massachusetts, are among the windiest in the nation. But here’s some bad news: Here in the US, we don’t know much about building wind turbines, out in the ocean at least. And here’s some good news: The Brits do, and they’re offering their help.
Offshore wind is booming in the United Kingdom — it’s approaching 10% of the electricity supply there. In the US, offshore wind energy remains in its infancy — only one offshore wind farm is operational nationwide, off the coast of Rhode Island. But at least a dozen projects nationwideare in the planning stages.
Harriet Cross, the British consul general to New England, wants to share her country’s expertise to help kick-start the movement in the US. Yes, that would mean making money for British companies who could sell technology and equipment in the US. But Cross says there are also higher stakes at play.
“There’s the bigger picture: We want the world to be more green. ... We genuinely believe that clean energy is the future. So, you find that the UK is really showing global leadership on things like the Paris climate change deal and that sort of thing.”
Harriet Cross, British consul general to New England