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Acknowledging a need to give offshore wind both a voice and a forum, AWEA has launched an Offshore Wind Working Group (OWWG), kicking off the first official meeting at the WINDPOWER 2006 Conference and Exhibition in Pittsburgh.

The OWWG was formed in response to the growing number of issues related to offshore wind energy. Last year in the Energy Policy Act, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), a division of the Department of the Interior, gained lead agency status in the review of offshore renewable energy projects. Consequently, this year MMS launched a process to draft a programmatic environmental impact statement for offshore renewable energy - a process that can require significant industry input.

According to AWEA communications and policy specialist Laurie Jodziewicz, AWEA needed a group to speak for the offshore wind energy industry in these and other agency actions.

"The AWEA Offshore Wind Working Group will provide the forum for all the stakeholders - industry, academia, and federal and state governments - to collaborate on legislative guidance, public education, media outreach, and research and development," says OWWG Chairman Peter Mandelstam, president of Bluewater Wind.

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