A representative of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration, Michele N. Siekerka, Assistant Commissioner for Economic Growth and Green Energy at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, will also address attendees.
"The wind farm industry has been a bright spot through the depths of the recession, creating one of the fastest-growing U.S. manufacturing sectors," said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. "However, we need stable, long-term policy in place to allow this new manufacturing sector to thrive and send a clear signal to the rest of the world that America is serious about the growth of wind energy. Next week in Baltimore, two champions of offshore wind power will help to spread this message—both Secretary Salazar and Governor O’Malley recognize offshore wind’s economic potential and are eager to see America become an offshore world leader."
Wind power is helping communities across America create economic opportunity and fight back against the job outsourcing seen in other industries, by insourcing a whole new manufacturing sector. States like Iowa and Texas have seen tremendous growth in wind energy and onshore wind jobs. The offshore industry could help bring similar industrial growth to many port cities like Baltimore. For instance, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has estimated that a 500 megawatt (MW) wind farm would create 2,000 manufacturing and construction jobs and an additional 400 ongoing jobs thereafter.
Last year’s Offshore WINDPOWER event in Atlantic City, NJ attracted more than 1,500 wind industry leaders, government officials, and business executives, as well as 120 exhibiting companies. This year’s conference, produced in partnership with the Offshore Wind Development Coalition and co-chaired by Jim Lanard and Aileen Kenney of Deepwater Wind, expects to exceed these numbers.
The conference will highlight a full range of initiatives in this emerging wind energy industry segment: development opportunities throughout the coastal and lake regions of the U.S., potential rewards of becoming a player in the offshore space, financing options and challenges, and even project design and siting options.
Baltimore was selected as the venue for this premier conference in light of Maryland’s eagerness to capture the winds off its coast. Governor Martin O’Malley has made the promotion of offshore wind a policy priority for his administration.