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The large-scale development of offshore wind power off the Mid-Atlantic coast would create thousands of jobs and boost the region's - as well as the nation's - economy, finds a new study conducted by IHS Inc. for the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC), an offshore backbone electricity transmission system proposed for the Mid-Atlantic and backed by the likes of Google, Trans-Elect and Marubeni Corp.

In fact, the development of 7 GW of offshore wind projects in the Mid-Atlantic would create over 170,000 jobs in the region; increase the gross domestic product by $19 billion; and increase federal, state and local revenues by $4.6 billion, according to the study.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, more than 70,000 direct jobs would be created in the manufacturing sector to meet the demand for wind turbine foundations, hubs, blades and other parts, and more than 40,000 jobs would be created by businesses that serve the supply chain for wind turbines. An additional 50,000 jobs would be created by the effect of added economic activity in the region, the report says.

"These findings highlight the unique opportunity our nation has for stimulating a brand-new industry by developing this limitless, yet untapped, resource," notes Bob Mitchell, CEO of AWC. “A viable offshore wind industry and the AWC backbone transmission line will provide the long-term energy solution to the region that not only delivers offshore wind energy efficiently, but will reduce the grid congestion that increases consumer electricity prices every year.”

Offshore wind’s potential to boost the economy and create jobs extends beyond the Mid-Atlantic region. In fact, a University of Delaware study estimated the wind resource in the area from Cape Cod, Mass., to Cape Hatteras, N.C., to be sufficient to generate an average of 330 GW of electricity, according to Mitchell.

In addition, the study notes that U.S. manufacturers are poised to play a substantial role in the supply chain. Two-thirds of the components of U.S. land-based wind farms are already manufactured domestically, IHS notes. Regional and local suppliers are likely to see much of this new business, since many turbine components are very large, making transportation expensive and difficult.

"This study confirms the great job creation and economic benefits that will come from the offshore wind industry," says Jim Lanard, president of Offshore Wind Development Coalition. “The opportunities are great.  Now we must match the right state and federal policies that can turn this study into reality.”


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