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March 31, 2021

Will Offshore Wind Drive Renewable Energy Push?

Ask students: Who is currently pushing for offshore wind turbines, and who is resisting them? What are the pros and cons of wind energy?


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Offshore Wind Energy Driving New Ways to Generate Electricity

Read the summary, watch the video featuring reporting by Ivette Feliciano and answer the discussion questions. To read the transcript of the video above, click here

For decades, scientists have seen vast potential for offshore wind energy. Offshore wind energy is the use of wind farms constructed primarily in the ocean which collect wind energy to generate electricity. Despite this potential, offshore wind in the U.S. barely exists, as projects have faced local opposition and concern about how they would affect ocean habitats and fisheries. But with a new emphasis on renewable energy from the Biden Administration, that may soon change.

  • In one of his first actions as president, President Joe Biden directed increased renewable energy generation on public lands, including offshore waters.
  • Vineyard Wind is set to become the first large scale wind energy farm in the U.S. It will be constructed off the coast of Massachusetts and generate enough power for about 400,000 homes and is expected to generate thousands of jobs for nearby local economies.
  • Still, there are local concerns about the impact of renewable energy projects such as Vineyard Wind. Some local fishermen worry about navigational hazards on the water and reduced fishing ranges.

Discussion Questions: Offshore Wind and Energy Policy

  • Who is currently pushing for offshore wind turbines, and who is resisting them?
  • What are the pros and cons of wind energy?
  • When and where might a large number of new offshore turbines go up?
  • Why do many see investment in renewable energy as important?
  • How might renewable energy generation help local economies, according to this piece?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus Question:What incentives do you think would work best to convince communities to adopt renewable energy generation?

Media Literacy: What information would you want to appear in a news story about renewable energy sources to help you assess whether or not they’d make good investments?

Dig Deeper: Climate Change and Natural Disasters

  • Want to understand how climate change might actually lead to colder winter weather in places that don’t normally experience it? Check out this guide on the polar vortex and climate change from UC Davis.
  • What other evidence is there that climate change is contributing to disasters and extreme weather such as wildfires and storms? Watch the video below and write down all the evidence provided by the host and interviewees that climate change might be a contributing factor to the spread of fires.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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