Turn Forward, an independent, non-profit offshore wind advocacy organization, launched to advance a shared, multi-stakeholder vision for American offshore wind power that meets today’s climate, economic, equity and environmental challenges. The new organization will work with a broad array of stakeholders to build momentum for policies and projects that significantly expand offshore wind generation, deliver game-changing benefits to workers and communities, and protect marine and coastal resources.
Turn Forward’s launch comes as new poll results show strong support for offshore wind development, even among U.S. residents in coastal communities who stand to be most directly impacted by the emerging energy source. Conducted by Nexus Polling, the poll found that seven in 10 coastal voters support expanding offshore wind energy, with majorities seeing it as beneficial for addressing climate change and improving the economy. When respondents were asked whether they support expansion in places near where they live, support remained strong, with two-thirds in favor. 78% of respondents said visible offshore wind turbines 10 to 15 miles offshore would not change their desire to visit the beach or would make them more likely to visit. Most projects will be 15 miles or further from shore.
Turn Forward will be led by 12-year U.S. offshore wind veteran Stephanie McClellan, who founded and led the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind, which helped create the original policy pipeline for offshore wind power in the U.S. McClellan also held offshore wind leadership roles across state government, philanthropy-funded initiatives, and industry entities.
“Offshore wind is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this country,” said McClellan. “It brings game-changing potential to increase clean, domestic energy production over the next decade, a critical component of America’s climate strategy. The industrial-scale development needed to build this resource can create an enormous number of enduring jobs, while helping transform communities that have borne the brunt of our historic reliance on fossil fuels.”
Turn Forward aims to work with the federal government and states to have created by 2025 a path toward generating 100+ gigawatts of offshore wind power, with strong policies in place to maximize benefits to communities and workers and ensure environmental protections as the renewable energy source is developed.
“Turn Forward will undertake a collaborative and comprehensive advocacy effort to make sure that the necessary policies, education and ground-level enthusiasm are in place to get this incredible resource built up—and built right,” said McClellan. “Our goal is to raise awareness of the transformational potential of offshore wind and work with allies across the country to drive actions that capture the potential of the unique opportunity in our midst.”
The Climate Nexus poll also revealed that a majority of respondents believe offshore wind is reliable, and expressed support for their public utilities to develop renewable energy. A majority also indicated little to no concern about the impacts of its development on tourism, ocean views, or their quality of life, with opinions divided about concern over impacts on recreational and commercial fishing. Over 50% of respondents indicated they had seen, read or heard very little or nothing about offshore wind energy in U.S. waters. The poll sampled residents along the east, west and Gulf coasts of the U.S.
Turn Forward’s Board of Advisors draws from a variety of perspectives with a stake in the outcome of offshore wind development. Founding Board members include Eddie Ahn, Executive Director of Brightline Defense; Mike Fishman, President and Executive Director of Climate Jobs National Resource Center; Collin O'Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF); and Manish Bapna, President and CEO of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).
“As we look toward the federal offshore wind auction for lease areas off California’s coast next week, with more coming in the Gulf and on the east coast, it’s clear the time is right for Turn Forward to enter the scene,” said Eddie Ahn of Brightline Defense. “Offshore wind’s ability to help address climate change in the near term may be unmatched, but those high expectations come with tremendous responsibility. Communities at the frontlines of the fossil-fuel economy could experience revitalization from offshore wind, and Turn Forward will help to achieve the real potential of this industry.”
“Offshore wind has huge potential for our climate, workers, and economy,” said Mike Fishman of Climate Jobs National Resource Center. “In communities across the country, unions are advancing a powerful pro-worker vision for offshore wind. The sheer scale and geographic potential of offshore wind in the U.S. calls for a domestic supply chain powered by millions of union jobs that revitalizes communities and reverses inequality. Turn Forward will play a critical role in deepening support for offshore wind policies that will build a more equitable, worker-centered economy.”
“More than any renewable resource emerging today, offshore wind can produce an enormous amount of clean, zero-emission electricity near major population centers,” said Collin O’Mara of the National Wildlife Federation. “We all have a role to play in making certain that responsibly-developed offshore wind fulfills its potential and helps us reach our climate goals, while protecting wildlife, engaging communities, and supporting well-paying careers every step of the way. Turn Forward will help amplify the magnitude of this opportunity and build political will to advance policies that accelerate its growth in a responsible way.”
“Offshore wind is not just good for the environment—it’s good for our economy,” said Manish Bapna of NRDC. “When developed properly, offshore wind power can create well-paying jobs and help underserved communities hardest hit by our reliance on fossil fuels without endangering ocean ecosystems. Turn Forward will be key to harnessing the full potential of this valuable resource blowing right off our shores.”