The American Wind Energy Association is hosting its annual Offshore Wind Expo in Atlantic City, New Jersey this year. This is the second time the expo has made its way to the Garden State. If you live in the south, here are five reasons to make the trip north of the Mason Dixon line. Early registration ends August 26th, so register today!
1. Offshore wind energy is progressing in the south.
Nearly every coastal state in the south has something going on regarding the development of offshore wind farms. Virginia conducted a lease sale for up to 2 gigawatts worth of offshore wind potential – a $1.6 million lease sale. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management recently announced potential lease areas for North Carolina. South Carolina’s regulatory task force is busy identifying areas off the coast for offshore wind development. Georgia is beginning to evaluate its offshore wind resources off Tybee Island. Attending the expo can be a great opportunity to put all these activities in context and better equip stakeholders to engage, and promote, offshore wind development in the south.
In 2012, when Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, Atlantic City was hit head-on and it was an absolute disaster. The one bright spot was Atlantic City’s five turbine wind farm. That wind farm is operated by the city utility’s wastewater treatment plant, just a couple miles from the shore. Sandy threw everything it could at those five turbines, and they came out without a scratch. Atlantic City still counts as one of the best case studies that wind turbines can survive hurricanes and extreme weather.
The Atlantic City turbines, drew the eye of Sandy, but they also draw the eyes of thousands of tourists every year. Some 15,000 people visit the turbines every year!
4. Manufacturing jobs.
Even though we don’t yet have an offshore wind farm here in the south, several manufacturers exist throughout the region that supply components to the offshore wind industry. In South Carolina, Prysmian, a subsea transmission cable manufacturer in Abbeville, will be supplying cable to Cape Wind in Massachusetts. The state already has about 1,100 people working in the wind industry, according to a study from Clemson University. In Louisiana, shipbuilders have constructed specialty ships for the European offshore wind industry.
5. Connect with subject matter experts.
SACE has attended the AWEA Offshore Wind Expo for the past four years – Atlantic City in 2010, Baltimore in 2011, Virginia Beach in 2012 and Providence in 2013. Last year, SACE was invited to give a poster presentation on the peak-load benefits of the Sea Breeze Effect from offshore wind farms, and we won the “Attendees Choice” poster award! This event has always been an excellent way to connect with subject matter experts – anyone interested in the offshore wind industry should plan on attending.
You can read more about the American Wind Energy Association’s Offshore Wind Expo by visiting their website. Be sure to register early (by August 26th) for a discount.