Georgia at the Back of the Pack in Race for Offshore Wind

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Simple Steps Could Improve Wind Outlook in Georgia

Environment Georgia

Atlanta, GA – As the clock ticks down for Congress to extend critical tax credits for wind power, a new report shows that with a step-up in state and federal leadership, Georgia could realize the benefits of offshore wind.

Georgia has immense untapped offshore wind energy resources, and the new report “The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy”, written by the National Wildlife Federation and released today in Atlanta by Environment Georgia identifies key building blocks that local, state, and federal officials have put in place to usher in a future with offshore wind, including admission of Georgia into the Atlantic States Offshore Wind Consortium

“Essentially, Georgia has several dozen power plants waiting to be tapped off our coast, said Jennette Gayer, Policy Advocate with Environment Georgia.  “Unfortunately, when it comes to tapping that potential, we are behind. To keep us in this race and make sure we can take advantage of this boon in pollution-free energy and local jobs our leaders must act now.”

Environment Georgia called on leaders in Congress to extend the offshore wind tax credit before it expires at the end of the year.  They also urged Governor Nathan Deal to take steps to add Georgia to the Atlantic States Offshore Wind Consortium, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are the only states with Atlantic wind potential not currently part of this Consortium designed to make wind development off the Atlantic Coast more efficient and coordinated.

The Atlantic coast is an ideal location for offshore wind energy because of its high electricity demand and population density along the coast.  Along the Atlantic coast alone, reaching the Department of Energy’s (DOE) goal of 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power would reduce carbon pollution by the equivalent of taking roughly 18 million cars off the road.  Meeting this benchmark would also generate $200 billion in new economic activity while creating more than 43,000 permanent, high-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction, engineering, operations, and maintenance, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Despite little activity around actually installing wind turbines off the coast, Georgia does have a growing wind manufacturing sector, including companies that manufacturer components of wind turbines, the rope and harnesses used by turbine maintenance crews, and electrical HVAC or switch systems.

“Offshore wind in Georgia is not only good for the environment, but it is a clean technology that provides economic growth and local jobs to the region,” said Carolin Wolfsdörfer, plant manager of ZF Wind Power Gainesville, a manufacturer of wind turbine gearboxes based in Gainesville, Ga. “Our company stands ready to help Georgia and the rest of the U.S. develop our offshore wind resources and create jobs in Georgia.”

The broad base of support for offshore wind was demonstrated in late July when more than two-hundred environmental organizations, businesses, and local and state officials from up and down the Atlantic coast wrote a letter to federal officials calling for bold action to accelerate the development of offshore wind.  

“Developing our offshore wind resources will generate thousands of jobs for Georgians, from technological research and implementation to construction and transportation – the ripple effect will impact every aspect of the supply chain,” said Paul Wolff a City Councilmember on Tybee Island. “We can preserve the sensitive ecosystems and recreational opportunities that have made our coastal communities special while strengthening our economy, energy security, and public health and safety for future generations.”

Georgia and national partners including business leaders, local and state elected officials, labor groups and environmental and clean energy organizations released the new report today up and down the Atlantic Coast. These groups call on state and federal officials to take the following steps to ensure the swift, environmentally sound ramp-up of offshore wind in the Atlantic:

  • Set a bold goal for offshore wind energy development in the Atlantic Ocean to provide clear leadership and vision.
  • Take decisive action to advance offshore wind energy development goals, including helping confront the financial challenges facing this new industry by extending the federal offshore wind investment tax credit, among other policies.
  • Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited, constructed, and operated responsibly in order to protect wildlife and avoid conflicts with other ocean uses.
  • Increase stakeholder coordination and public engagement.