As several Eastern states get ready to incorporate offshore wind power, a new task force is gathering information to help bring it to New Hampshire.
“Offshore wind power is one of the most exciting areas of meeting our clean energy needs,” Michael Behrmann, director of business development for Clean Energy New Hampshire, told The Center Square. “It’s past the tipping point in the U.S.; now it’s just sort of where and how is New Hampshire going to benefit from that. Despite our state having a small coastline, there is enormous opportunity in the Gulf of Maine for all three states [New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts] to see great benefit from this.”
“We know the need is there, the industry is now in the U.S., and it’s all about how we can effectively develop it,” he added.
Behrmann was in attendance last week at the inaugural meeting of the tri-state BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) Gulf of Maine Offshore Wind Task Force at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
“Jim Bennett from BOEM said it was the largest turnout he had seen,” Behrmann said. “We [Clean Energy New Hampshire] have been working very diligently to make sure key people on the academic and industry sides were there.”
Early this year, Gov. Chris Sununu sought creation of an intergovernmental offshore wind renewable energy task force for the state.
At the task force meeting, Sununu said mechanisms for offshore wind development should be set up as soon as possible.
"We want to make sure everyone has input," Sununu said in a report posted on New Hampshire Public Radio, "but at the end of the day, if we don't get a result, if we don't get a product out of this, then we've all wasted our time."
A study by the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) at the University of Delaware finds that America's offshore wind industry presents a multibillion-dollar opportunity to businesses in the supply chain.
“America’s land-based wind industry already supports over 105,000 U.S. jobs and more than 500 factories,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said in a news release about the report. “This paper lays out the $70 billion opportunity to further grow American jobs and manufacturing as development heats up to harness our nation’s world-class offshore wind potential.”
Behrmann said the tri-state task force is expected to gather information and hold another meeting in the next five to six months.