Windfall: The Birth of a New American Industry

The federal Government has sold lease areas from Massachusetts to North Carolina and states have passed laws to finance the construction of more than a dozen major offshore wind farms. (Sara Plourde/NHPR)

The United States is poised for the birth of a brand new industry, one that will invest tens of billions of dollars in our economy, reshape our coastal communities, and one that could be one of the sharpest knives in our fight against climate change: offshore wind.

It may also represent the first time truly massive companies have retooled their entire business models to train their sights at the climate problem. And that last point raises sticky questions about how capitalism – which, you could argue, got us into this whole climate mess – could be the best path out of the worst impacts of climate change.

This is the story of a promising renewable energy technology and the potential of wind power in a changing climate. It’s the story of an organized opposition and how the failures of the past define future success at a time when the government is poised to take real action on climate change. Ultimately, this is a story about who has the power to reshape our energy future.