Virginia's Offshore Battle: Wind Vs. Oil Drilling | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Virginia's Offshore Battle: Wind Vs. Oil Drilling

Play associated audio
Advocates for both offshore drilling and offshore wind farms in Virginia argue each one's economic benefits. 
Phil Hollman: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pjh/185488397/
Advocates for both offshore drilling and offshore wind farms in Virginia argue each one's economic benefits. 

The Obama administration's proposal to exclude Virginia from offshore drilling exploration has angered many top politicians in the commonwealth who view drilling as a potential source of jobs. But the decision has reinvigorated environmentalists' arguments that there's more to gain from wind power.

So how do the two actually compare? Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell points to $250 million annually in revenue sharing payments from potential offshore oil and gas leases. "And more than 1,900 jobs could be created," says Jeff Caldwell, McDonnell's press secretary.

As for offshore wind, the environmental group Oceana says there could be tens of thousands of jobs created by offshore wind farms in Virginia.

"We could be talking about as many as 17,000 jobs in operations and maintenance," says Oceana's Jackie Savitz. "And in terms of construction, we're talking about another 30,000 jobs."

So for wind power, there could be many more jobs, but maybe less state revenue. Savitz says those jobs would materialize only if the supply chain for wind farms is based in Virginia -- as opposed to another state or another country.

"It's really a matter of who gets there first," says 

McDonnell and former Gov. Tim Kaine have called for a combination of oil and renewables including wind, but Savitz says there's a problem with that.

"When you try to do both, they end up competing with each other," she says. "They need some of the same parts, same ships. It drives costs up."

Not so, argues Tim Ryan, president of wind developer Apex Wind in Charlottesville, Va.

"Hampton Roads is a tremendous resource in terms of shipyards, dock areas, manufacturing capabilities," Ryan says. "There are plenty of opportunities to do offshore wind and offshore oil and gas."

The real barrier to wind isn't drilling, Ryan adds. Instead, it's expiring federal incentives and a lack of state incentives in Virginia. 

And, of course there is more to compare than money and jobs, add the environmentalists. While oil pollutes, wind does not, they say.   

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Aug. 27

An artist jabs at comforting notions of home and playwrights present new work at a local venue.

NPR

Lizards And Worms Should Not Be On The School Lunch Menu

India wins praise for providing free lunches to 120 million of its poorest children. But lax supervision has led to lapses that have sickened and even killed youngsters.
NPR

After Inspector General Report, Veterans Want More Than Promises

The report said it couldn't be proven that anyone had died because of wait times at the medical center in Phoenix. On Tuesday, President Obama pledged to do better by vets and announced initiatives.
NPR

Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese

Why do some cheeses melt and caramelize better than others? Researchers used high-tech cameras and special software to figure it out.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.