USA: New Business Coalition Formed to Advance Wind Industry in the Southeast
A new regional coalition was announced September 20, 2012, that will focus on advancing the coastal and offshore wind industry in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. The Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition will explore opportunities for regional collaboration among both the public and private sectors, including a focus on ways to grow the wind industry manufacturing base in the region.
The announcement is being hailed by industry leaders as an impressive step towards realizing the economic benefits of offshore wind and the right strategy for building a new industry. “Seizing this opportunity calls for regional cooperation, infrastructure, and deployment approaches,” said Fara Courtney, Executive Director of the nationally focused U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative. “Individual state action alone is not enough.”
The group plans to work closely with utilities to explore options for building the industry. “We recognize the important role the electric utilities play in the Southeast,” said Brian O’Hara, President of the Coalition, citing the Coalition’s focus on solutions that provide net economic benefits to citizens, ratepayers, utilities, and industry members. “Benefits could include new jobs in manufacturing, construction, and operations; reduced pollution and water use; and use of a domestic energy resource with no fuel cost.”
The Coalition plans to conduct little to no lobbying but will act as a resource for highlighting the competitive advantages of the Southeast. “This region has some very compelling strengths, including competitive labor markets, an enormous offshore wind resource, and the lowest estimated construction costs on the East Coast,” said Jen Banks, Wind Coordinator at the NC Solar Center and Director of Operations for the Coalition. “That’s why there are already several thousand wind industry jobs in the Southeast.”
Members of the Coalition will include businesses, industry members, economic developers, academic institutions, and non-profits that support development of the wind industry.
Press release, September 26, 2012; Image: secoastalwind