Tybee Island, Ga. (September 5, 2012) – Approximately 300 people attended a rally last Friday on Tybee Island to promote offshore wind energy. The event, called the “Wind Works: for Jobs, for Georgians” rally was sponsored by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and the Sierra Club. The coalition of groups and individuals came together on Labor Day weekend to promote the development of wind energy jobs in Georgia. With significant offshore wind energy resources and a growing component manufacturing base throughout the state, wind power can provide clean energy for Georgia families and businesses while creating jobs across the state.
“We need to develop Georgia’s renewable energy resources to revitalize our economy, create permanent green jobs, reduce water consumption, and clean up our environment, and a combination of distributed solar PV and offshore wind are our best options,” said Tybee Island City Councilman Paul Wolff. “This event brought people together on Tybee’s pier, where they could visualize what a wind farm would look like, and provided science-based information about energy alternatives which helped raise awareness of the need to transition away from fossil fuels toward renewables sooner than later.”
According to the Department of Energy, Georgia has the fourth largest accessible offshore wind energy potential of all Atlantic coast states. Currently, wind turbine component manufacturers employ approximately 2,000 Georgians; wind turbines contain about 8,000 separate parts. Department of Energy estimates show that by developing a small fraction of Georgia’s 14,500 megawatt offshore wind energy potential, the state could see an the growth of some 20,000 additional wind energy-related jobs.
However, Governor Nathan Deal is currently one of only two Atlantic Coast Governors not working with the Department of Interior’s ’Smart from the Start’ program to kick-start wind energy jobs and development and streamline the permitting process for wind farm development. States like North Carolina and South Carolina have aggressively recruited wind energy companies and are manufacturing jobs by working with the Department of the Interior and recruiting businesses.
“Developing Georgia’s offshore wind resources can generate thousand of high-quality, well-paying jobs that we will celebrate on future Labor Day weekends for generations to come,” said Anna Smit, Clean Energy Associate for SACE.
“Georgia needs leaders who will stand-up for Georgia jobs,” said Seth Gunning, Organizing Representative with the Georgia Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “With such a large potential for wind energy in Georgia waters, Governor Nathan Deal should be leading the way in creating lasting, twenty-first century clean energy jobs for Georgians by working with the ‘Smart from the Start’ program to kick-start offshore wind energy development in our state.”
Elected officials that spoke at the rally included: Georgia State Senator Lester Jackson, Mayor Jason Buelterman of Tybee Island, and City Councilman Paul Wolff of Tybee Island.
This event was made possible by the following sponsors: Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Georgia Sierra Club, Brighter Day, Coastal Solar Power Company, Good Vibrations Health and More, Papa’s Bar-B-Que and Seafood, Tybee Island Social Club, The Sentient Bean, and Well FED Magazine. # # # Note: photos from the event have been uploaded to www.flickr.com/photos/GaSierraClub.