Editor's Note: This blog introduces readers to Christine Guhl, Associate Organizing Representative at Sierra Club.
What could be better than a day at the beach flying kites? What if we could harness the power of all that wind to create homegrown clean energy? That’s just what people around the world are asking today, on Global Wind Day. And here at the Jersey Shore, we’re showing that investing in clean, safe energy like offshore wind is important to ensure our economy is built to last.
This Global Wind Day I’ll be joining other Garden State residents and families at local beaches to get wind em-powered with a kite-flying rally in support of offshore wind. I’ve lived in New Jersey my entire life and I want my state to be a leader in the clean energy economy by being one of the first in the U.S. to make offshore wind a reality.
New Jersey has 16,000 MW of offshore wind potential. That’s enough to power more than 4 million homes in our state alone. The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the potential for offshore wind power in the U.S. is four times greater than the country's current total generating capacity from all sources.
The U.S. wind industry has already created more than 75,000 jobs and could support as many as 500,000 jobs by 2030. Here in New Jersey alone the wind industry already supports hundreds of jobs. New offshore wind installations would create real jobs for people who need them now.
Wind power’s economic and environmental benefits are worth celebrating. But Global Wind Day is not just about discussing New Jersey’s offshore wind potential. It’s about calling on our leaders to turn that potential into action.
We need strong leadership on the state and federal level to listen to Americans’ call for a clean energy future. President Obama has already recognized that wind power is an important part of the country’s energy mix. It’s up to the rest of our leaders to ensure that wind can live up to its potential.
The U.S. has not yet begun to tap into its offshore wind resources, but we’re looking to change that through our work on events like Global Wind Day. I hope next year we can celebrate Global Wind Day knowing that our homes are being powered with clean, safe, renewable energy from wind.
Christine Guhl is Associate Organizing Representative at Sierra Club