Initiative demonstrates growing interest in offshore wind energy.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today announces the formation of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition (OffshoreWindDC), which will focus on advocacy and education efforts to promote offshore wind energy. The new coalition, which will be based in Washington, DC, will be headed up by Jim Lanard, formerly Managing Director for Deepwater Wind.

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“The creation of this coalition demonstrates the growing interest in offshore wind energy in the U.S.,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “Offshore wind provides a great opportunity to increase the use of renewable energy, thanks to the strong and steady winds that blow off our shores and proximity to electricity demand centers, particularly along the Eastern Seaboard. Offshore wind energy is proven in Europe, and will soon be hard at work here in America, powering our economy, protecting our environment, and creating jobs.”

The U.S. has vast offshore wind resources, particularly off the Eastern seaboard and in the Great Lakes. Offshore wind projects totaling more than 5,000 megawatts (MW) have been proposed and are in the planning or development stages in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that of the 300,000 MW of wind power that could generate 20% of U.S. electricity by 2030, 50,000 MW would likely be offshore.

The creation of such a group is a natural outcome of the growth, diversification, and maturation of the wind industry in general, and of the offshore wind industry specifically. OffshoreWindDC will both expand and sharpen the focus of the industry efforts already underway through AWEA. For example, AWEA is currently working to secure long-term tax policy for offshore wind and shorten the permitting timeline for projects. The effort will involve AWEA, offshore wind developers, and other stakeholders in states such as Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.

Founding members and contributors to the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, in addition to AWEA, include Apex Wind, Cape Wind, Deepwater Wind, Fishermen’s Energy, NRG Bluewater Wind, OffshoreMW, and Seawind Renewable. Jim Lanard, President of OffshoreWindDC, said, “We are delighted to join with AWEA to advocate for policies that will support the development of this well-established technology. Our joint efforts will lead to job creation, significant economic development opportunities and environmental and energy security for our country.”

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