SCRIPT FOR MARYLAND OFFSHORE WIND PRESENTATION

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Nov 8, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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SCRIPT FOR MARYLAND OFFSHORE WIND PRESENTATION

SLIDE 1



Intro Slide

I’m here today to talk to you about one of the biggest energy resources you’ve probably never heard of.
It’s called the mid
-
Atlantic Bight. It’s a geographic term describing a huge part o
f the U.S. East Coast that
happens to be very, very windy and very, very close to a lot of American electricity customers. After the
Deepwater Horizon mega spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it turns out that the mid
-
Atlantic coast is the
perfect place to declar
e once and for all that we want “Windmills Not Oil Spills” in America.

But before we talk about this new energy vision, let’s talk about cigarettes.

SLIDE 2

-

Ashtray

As a nation we are addicted to oil with the same sort of harmful intensity and irrationa
lity as a smoker is
addicted to cigarettes. So maybe we can learn something from smokers who’ve quit. Multiple studies
have found that most smokers don’t quit based solely on a fear of cancer and all the other negative
consequences of smoking. What helps m
ost smokers the most is “gain
-
based” messaging, the promise
that not only will the negative consequences end with a cessation of smoking, but smokers will “gain”
more energy, gain a sense of wellness, gain a better
-
looking physical image, and more money in

their
pocket. This gain
-
based vision


and that’s what it is, a positive vision


is what finally helps most people
end their addiction to cigarettes. The lesson for the rest of us is obvious: We can’t just focus on the
negatives of oil use


spills, blac
k pelicans, OPEC dependency, climate change. We have to also create
gain
-
based messaging for what’s going to take oil’s place. We need a vision or set of visions that are
utterly positive and make us feel good about how we’re going to look as a nation afte
r we end our oil
addiction.

That’s why we need to talk about wind power in the mid
-
Atlantic Bight.

SLIDE 3



East Coast Map

So what is the mid
-
Atlantic Bight? Well, “bight” is a geographic term that basically describes a really,
really, really large bay.
Look at this map of the eastern United States. See that area between Cape Cod,
Massachussetts and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina? See how it actually creates an enormous indention?
It’s so big that the enormous Chesapeake Bay is a bay within a bay. That’s t
he mid
-
Atlantic Bight and it’s
full of unharnessed energy. Full of wind power. But before going into details, let’s look at another
coastline packed full of energy.

SLIDE 4



Gulf Coast Map

Months after the Deepwater Horizon mega spill, most Americans stil
l lack an awareness of the scale of
offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. There are so many platforms in the Gulf


4,000 of them


that
they actually form “constellations.” They group themselves coincidentally into shapes that boat captains
use to navi
gate by in the Gulf. I’m not kidding. These constellations include “the Barbeque Pit” and the
“Bunny Ears” and many others. The platforms tap even more actual wells


up to 10,000 of them


on
the Gulf floor. That’s 10,000 actual punctures of the ocean flo
or, each involving a “blowout prevention
device” that carries the now
-
dubious promise of safety. You’ve heard of the phrase “too big to fail”?
Well this is “too big to regulate.” Even recently improved regulations for offshore drilling can’t protect
us fro
m the human errors and equipment failures that will inevitably come from so many platforms and
wells. No fewer than 85,000 people work for the offshore oil industry in the Gulf. That’s nearly four
times more than the U.S. space program.

SLIDE 5



Eiffel T
ower and Oil Platform

And not only are the numbers of platforms inconceivable, but we keep pushing out to deeper and
deeper water. Shell Oil’s “Perdido” platform set the current world record last spring, now floating and
pumping oil in water 8,000 feet dee
p. The “hull” of the platform is almost as tall as the Eiffel Tower. By
itself, Perdido can tap up to 35 wells.

Too big to regulate.

SLIDE 6



Wind Turbines

Enough about oil platforms and oil spills, let’s talk about a clean
-
energy alternative: offshore
wind
power. It turns out that wind power is the fastest growing energy resource in the world today, and
offshore

wind power is particularly promising in the eastern United States. Why? Well, it goes back to
the Atlantic Bight.

SLIDE 7



East Coast Map

This

giant quote
-
unquote bay is perfect for creating a clean
-
energy resource that matches the scale of
America’s needs. Look closer, the Bight stretches across the coastlines of nine different US states, across
an area 600 miles long and a total of 50,000 squa
re miles in size. This area is very windy and shallow
enough


50 feet to 300 feet in deepth


to allow safe and cost
-
competitive construction of offshore
wind turbines. Like all bays, it also provides a natural shelter against severe storms. Hurricanes co
me
mostly from the south and tend to be deflected out to sea by the point
-
like projection of North
Carolina’s Cape Hatteras.

Indeed, a 2007 study by Stanford University and the University of Delaware estimated that there’s
enough harnessable wind power in

the Mid
-
Atlantic Bight to create electricity equal to 70 percent of ALL
of America’s current generation. That’s a lot of wind power. And the best part is this: it’s a lot of wind
power right next to nearly half of America’s electricity users. The densely
populated East Coast


Boston,
New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond


are all within easy servicing distance by
this Persian Gulf of wind power.

SLIDE 8



Cape Wind

And it’s already beginning to happen. Ironically, the same week th
e Deepwater Horizon rig sank in the
Gulf, the U.S. Department of the Interior approved America’s very first offshore wind farm. The nod
went to the much
-
publicized Cape Wind project in Massachusetts’ Nantucket Sound. Using 130 modern
windmills, with blades

180 feet long, this project alone could utimately produce 450 megawatts of clean
electricity, enough to power nearly all of Cape Cod.

SLIDE 9



East Coast Map

And just two months before the BP blowout, the prestigious Abell Foundation in Baltimore release
d a
study showing that Maryland could get up to 2/3rds of its electricity from offshore wind. And most
ironic, the same
day

as the BP blowout, the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium


set up by the
Virginia General Assembly


released a report sho
wing there was enough offshore wind potential in
Virginia alone to easily power 750,000 homes


forever. These states of course are right in the center of
the Mid
-
Atlantic Bight. We have a truly unique opportunity in the Chesapeake region to lead the natio
n
in wind power in the next few years. With that opportunity comes the great responsibility to do all we
can


as concerned citizens in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia


to make it happen.

SLIDE 10



Sports Car

But critics tend to raise t
hree big questions when it comes to replacing offshore drilling with offshore
wind power.

First, what about all our cars and trucks. They need oil, and electric cars aren’t here yet. Isn’t drilling just
a necessary evil? The answer: Hell no! There’s enou
gh harnessable wind power in coastal Virginia alone
to power the equivalent of 3.6 million electric cars annually. By reputable estimates, we can electrify a
huge part of our auto fleet in just a few years, charging the car batteries mostly during off
-
peak

hours
without overburdening the grid.

And make no mistake, those electric cars are coming soon to mainstream America, much faster than
most of us realize. At least 10 automakers are preparing to launch plug
-
in electric models between 2010
and 2012. Tesla

Motors, focusing exclusively on electric vehicles, became the first U.S. automaker in 50
years to go public last June, joining the Nasdaq Stock Market.

This sporty bad boy from Tesla, by the way, can go 245 miles on a single charge.

SLIDE 11



East Coast

Wind Map

The second question raised by wind power skeptics is the issue of “intermittancy.” I.E. the wind doesn’t
blow all the time while consumers need dependable electricty 24
-
7. But the beauty of the Mid
-
Atlantic
Bight is that a significant weather fro
nt is always passing through one or more parts of this huge, 600
-
mile long stretch of coastline. And if you had dozens of major wind farms all carefully interconnected via
an offshore “smart grid” then you could adjust for and even out the flow of wind pow
er, thus creating
dependable clean electricity 24
-
7 up and down the east coast. This is part of the goal of Google Inc and
the Bethesda
-
based firm Trans
-
Elect in announcing in October a multi
-
BILLION dollar investment
initiative to build a robust offshore,

interconnection grid across the Mid
-
Atlantic Bight.

This wind speed map shows robust winds in the light blue and green
-
colored areas of the Mid
-
Atlantic
Bight.

SLIDE 12



Seagulls

A final major question asked about offshore wind power is related to enviro
nmental protection. Wind
power will help enormously in solving the biggest environmental crisis of our time


global warming


but what about unintended consequences for local wildlife?

Thankfully, beginning with the Cape Wind project, the news is good. A

federal Environmental Impact
Study, exhaustive in scope, found there will be no significant threats to avian populations from the
project or any marine life.

SLIDE 13



Bird Flight Paths

It turns out that birds are pretty smart, as shown in this computer

record of collared birds avoiding
offshore wind turbines in coastal Denmark. Migratory birds fly around or well above the blades, and
resident birds fly around or below the blades. The slow rotation speed of the blades further minimizes
accidental contact
. Because of bird safety features, Massachusetts Audubon


New England’s largest
conservation organization


supports Cape Wind. By law, all additional wind farms in U.S. waters will
come under similarly intense scrutiny before a single turbine can be inst
alled. Europe’s experience with
38 existing offshore wind farms has shown astonishingly low bird mortality over a broad area and over
several years.

SLIDE 14


Beach View of Turbines

What about the visual impacts? How will the windmills look? Here, too, th
e news is good. Wind industry
officials say the vast majority of future East Coast turbines will be at least ten miles out to sea. This
means, from the beach, each windmill will be less than the size of your thumbnail when you extend your
hand fully away f
rom your face. In the summer, the heat and haze will probably erase even that small
image while leaving your beach motel fully powered by the same breeze blowing through your hair.

Can you see the wind turbines on the horizon in this photo? Hard to see, r
ight? This is a computer
-
simulated view of part of the Cape Wind turbines from a distance of 13.8 miles

SLIDE 15


Oil Spill

Wind mills or oil drilling? What do we want off the East Coast of the US? In coastal Virginia there is
enough recoverable oil equal

to only 6
-
24 days of current US demand. And yet just one oil spill could
lead to disaster from Virginia Beach to Cape May, New Jersey. And even when drilling is accident
-
free,
we quote
-
unquote spill 4.1 million tons of CO2 per day into the atmosphere from

US cars and trucks.

SLIDE 16


Rosie the Riveter

Moving from oil spills to wind mills, and building a climate friendly energy economy will be a major
challenge. But the hurdles are primarily political. That was the conclusion of Richard Garvine, who was
a
professor of maritime policy at the University of Delaware before his recent passing away. He co
-
authored the 2007 study that first catalogued the staggering wind potential of the Mid
-
Atlantic Bight.
Developing this 50,000
-
square
-
mile region into its ful
l potential


from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras
--

was
not a matter of technology, he argued. It’s a matter of popular will.

SLIDE 17


Marylanders for Offshore Wind supporters

So how will the Governor’s bill make offshore wind a reality in Maryland? Well, t
o answer that question
it’s helpful to consider the major challenges facing the development of offshore wind.

The biggest challenge facing offshore wind is a financial one. In order to pony up the billions of dollars
needed to build an offshore wind farm,

investors want to be assured a decent return on their
investment. One of the best ways to assure that investors get that return is to get utilities to enter into
long term contracts to purchase wind from the wind farms.

Unfortunately in Maryland decision
s about contracts for energy purchases and which energy projects to
develop focus on the short term, and in particular short term costs. As a result Maryland is stuck getting
over 60 percent of our energy from dirty energy sources like coal. And that’s ver
y unfortunate for
Maryland energy consumers, because as a finite resource, fossil fuels are subject to price volatility. In
the past decade alone our energy costs have gone up 75%. We need to start focusing on the longer term
when it comes to our energy ch
oices. And when we do that, when we look for long term benefits like
price stability, public health, environmental sustainability and job creation we see that long term
contracts for offshore wind are the way to go.

Those long term wind contracts are exac
tly what the governor’s bill is designed to make happen. The bill
will set up a process where utilities are required to put out requests for proposals for wind projects from
developers. The projects will then be reviewed by the PSC and the ones that are th
e best in terms of
environmental, health and price stability impacts will be granted the contracts. The goal to start
construction of the farms is 2015. The bill also focuses on ensuring that manufacturing and other jobs
related to the wind farm stay withi
n the state. That’s why the steelworkers are such strong advocates of
the bill. They know that there are plenty of good jobs to be had from forging the steel for the massive
towers will create thousands of good green
-
collar jobs.

And of course the model f
or this legislation is not without precedent. In the past four years Delaware,
New Jersey and Massachusetts all passed bills designed to secure long term contracts for offshore wind
energy. We can’t let Maryland fall behind. It’s time for the General assem
bly to pass legislation to
ensure that Maryland is out in front of the pack leading the way to a clean energy revolution.

SLIDE 18


Blue Shirts at State House

How can we help the bill pass?
By getting big, getting visible and sticking with it
. If the ama
zing
attendance at our December wind conference and the incredible turnout for our 1
st

day of Session
visibility action at the State House (shown above) were any indication, we are on the right track to
victory. And of course the Governor’s support doesn’t

hurt either. But in order to win we have to keep
the momentum growing, and get our communities energized in support of wind power.

And that’s what the 1000 Megawatt Challenge is all about. The idea for the challenge comes from a term
coined by CCAN’s Mar
yland Organizer Keith Harrington


what he calls the Law of the Conservation of
Energy Policy. Just like the Law of the Conservation of Energy which says energy can’t be created or
destroyed, the type of energy policies that come out of our political syste
m come from the type of
energy that goes into the political system. If the energy is coming from coal companies we get dirty
energy policies. If it’s coming from clean energy advocates we can get 1000 megawatts of clean offshore
wind energy for Maryland.

But how much grassroots energy do we need to generate? The challenge is designed to help us know
how much to shoot for and to keep track of what we’ve done. Every person or group that joins the
challenge gets one of these “Grassroots Power Meters”. (
hand o
ut the 1000 Megawatt Challenge
overview handout to everyone and point to the meter
) As you can see on the meter are 10 tactics that
we need to do in order to build political momentum for the bill. Let’s review what they are. (
Read
through the list at the b
ottom of page 1.
)

Every time we complete one of these tactics we check it off on our meter, and we are awareded 100
megawatt points. The point of the point system again is to help us have a sense of how much we’ve
done and what we should aim for. If we com
plete all 10 tactics we’ve completed the challenge and we
can keep going trying to rack up as many points as possible. At the end of the campaign, the 3 people or
teams with the most points will get awards at a special Challenge award ceremony.

Of course
in order to help with the campaign, you don’t have to commit to joining the challenge. You
can always help with as many or as few tactics and activities as you can manage. But the challenge is a
fun way for us all to stay focused and work together.

And, o
f course, one thing you all can do
right now
to help this campaign, is to sign our offshore wind
postcard petition. We’re planning to deliver 10,000 petition signatures to key decision makers in
Annapolis to push a wind bill during the upcoming assembly. S
o please sign, and better yet, take a stack
of cards too and get your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues to sign as well.

SLIDE 19



Sticking With It


So
,

that’s how we get big and visible. But what about sticking with it? Well clearly that story c
an’t be
told until we win. And to win on wind we need your help. The string of clean energy and climate change
legislation that Maryland has passed in the last decade is a testament to the kind of
major victories we
can have when

people like us pull togeth
er the political will to make it happen. In years past we have
made Maryland a clean energy leader by passing one of the most forward looking climate bills in the
country and a strong renewable energy standard. Now it’s time to continue that legacy of lead
ership
and ensure we hit our climate and energy goals by passing an offshore wind bill.

What we each have here is a unique opportunity to help steer our country and the world toward the
clean energy future. The passage of legislation to build wind farms o
ff of the coast of Maryland will
mean much, much more than creating reliable jobs and reliable energy costs for Marylanders.
Developing the wind resources of the Mid
-
Atlantic bight will help revolutionize the way America, and
hence the world gets its energ
y. At a time when federal action on climate change is on the skids, this
project can get America on the way to stabilizing our climate. It can have a major impact on the future of
our world. It’s not too often that we get the chance to play a role in somet
hing that can have such a big
impact. But we have that chance here.

Let that thought sink in for a minute. Just imagine it is 5 years into the future, and there are hundreds of
elegant wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City generating clean, inexhausti
ble power for Maryland
homes. Just imagine what it would be like to know you played a role in making that happen. And then
imagine what it would be like to know that this project helped spur the development of similar wind
projects all across the country,
and that America is leading the world out of the climate crisis and into a
clean energy future because of your work. It’s a pretty exciting thought, and you can make it a reality.

And as we’ve heard there are plenty of easy ways we can make a difference.
Let’s spend some time now
discussing what we can do to help out with the 1000 Megawatt Challenge and generate grassroots
energy in our area.

Thank you so much for your time and your support! Together we’re going to make Maryland an offshore
wind leader.