AWEA Applauds Major Step Forward For Cape Wind Offshore Wind Power Project

Today at the North American Offshore Wind Conference & Exhibition, hosted by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Canadian Wind Energy Association in Atlantic City, N.J., U.S. Secretary Ken Salazar and Cape Wind Associates, LLC, signed the nation’s first lease for commercial offshore wind farm development on the Outer Continental Shelf.

American Wind Energy Association issued the following statement from Denise Bode, AWEA CEO, who was on-stage with Secretary Salazar for the signing of the lease: “This is a great moment, a major milestone, in getting the offshore segment of the U.S. wind power industry off the ground and in the water. Cape Wind has been a leader in the offshore wind power movement for years, and so it is appropriate that this historic moment take place right here at AWEA’s first-ever North American Offshore Wind Conference & Exhibition—just a short walk from the Atlantic Ocean, where thousands of megawatts of wind energy are waiting to be tapped.

“Over 1,600 people from around the world witnessed the signing, some of them from countries that have taken the lead away from the United States in developing wind energy.

“The Cape Wind wind turbines lease represents progress toward taking that lead back for America, and keeping not only construction jobs, but also wind manufacturing jobs, right here at home instead of having to watch them go to China and Europe. And it’s a major defeat for oil and coal interests who are funding front groups to try to stir up opposition to breakthrough projects like Cape Wind.

“We thank and congratulate Secretary Salazar and Jim Gordon, CEO of Cape Wind, for taking the opportunity of the conference to create this historic moment. With the kind of leadership that people like Secretary Salazar and Jim Gordon have shown, our industry will capture the jobs and manufacturing potential of offshore wind power.”

North American Wind Energy Conference Blows into Atlantic City for First Ever Offshore Wind Conference & Exhibition

The first-ever North American Offshore Wind Conference & Exhibition opens today in Atlantic City, N.J. Hosted by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), in collaboration with the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), the three-day conference features keynote speeches from U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno.

The North American Offshore Wind Conference & Exhibition brings more than 1,500 wind industry leaders, government officials, and business executives to Atlantic City. The conference will highlight the full range of action happening in this emerging wind energy industry segment: development opportunities throughout the coastal and lake regions of North America, potential rewards of becoming a player in the offshore space, financing options and challenges, and even project design and siting options. The Exhibition show floor will feature more than 120 exhibiting companies from the offshore wind market.

“Offshore wind energy is the new frontier for our industry," said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. “While offshore wind is steadily gaining momentum in the U.S., the reality is that other countries are expanding their lead in this sector. It is essential to send this exciting market a clear signal, through long-term and stable policy, that the U.S. is committed to making offshore wind a reality. Only through such a signal can the U.S. attract the manufacturing facilities and associated jobs needed to support the industry. Two champions of offshore wind, Secretary Salazar and New Jersey Governor Christie, understand the manufacturing and job opportunities that offshore wind presents to America.”

“Our nation’s energy policy is at the forefront of the Department’s agenda,” said Secretary Salazar. “Now, more than ever, we must embrace the energy potential our lands and oceans hold. With the help of AWEA’s initiatives and continued support, we can make the transition to a clean-energy economy a reality.”

Atlantic City was selected as the venue for this premier conference in light of New Jersey’s offshore wind potential and the strong policy signals the state has already given the industry. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act into law on July 19, 2010. The Act will provide $100 million in tax credits for offshore wind developments in the Atlantic Ocean that connect to the New Jersey grid.

"Developing and investing in renewable energy resources such as wind power are key to the future economic growth and the creation of green jobs in New Jersey and along the Atlantic Coast Region,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. "For New Jersey in particular, it will provide us with an opportunity to leverage our vast resources and innovative technologies, allowing businesses to engage in new and emerging sectors of the energy industry. By growing and strengthening the economy in this manner, we will make New Jersey a home for growth as well as a national leader in the wind power movement."

Offshore wind resources in North American are not only vast, they are located near high-demand centers for electricity. Offshore wind farms therefore offer something that is extremely valuable for the economy, environment, and energy security: a source of clean, domestic, inexhaustible energy to meet fast-growing electricity demand. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 54 GW of offshore wind turbines will be included in the 300 GW required to meet 20% of the U.S. electricity needs in 2030.

AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind industry, with more than 2,400 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America.