Report: Offshore Wind Farms Would Generate Thousands of Manufacturing Jobs

Wind Farms Create Jobs Image

A new study has found that the large-scale development of wind power farms off the Atlantic coast could generate thousands of jobs from New England to Virginia.

According to the industry-sponsored study conducted for the Atlantic Wind Connection, those jobs would help create a new industrial base that would be needed to manufacture, build, operate and maintain wind turbines. In addition, the report found the industry would also need another 40,000 jobs in order to support and serve the supply chain over the next 10 years, Bloomberg reports.

These findings highlight the unique opportunity our nation has for stimulating a brand new industry by developing this limitless, yet untapped, resource, said Bob Mitchell, chief executive of Atlantic Wind Connection.

Mitchell told the news agency that the study is just the “tip of the iceberg” of an industry that could exceed the region’s current energy use. Mitchell cited another study by the University of Delaware that looked at wind power potential from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job seekers with a variety of skills on their resumes will be needed for future jobs in the wind energy and sector. The manufacturing sector of the industry will need machinists, tool operators, assemblers, welders, and inspectors. In order to build the massive wind towers, applicants will be need to have experience in construction, electrical work and equipment operations.

With a wind power farm slated to be built off the coast of Cape Cod by 2014, the industry will need to hire turbine service technicians, who should have mechanical skills or postsecondary training as an electrician on their resume in order to maintain and repair the site.

Wind power advocates are also pushing for a wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach, which they said is uniquely positioned to support the project because of its shallow waters and high winds.

Meanwhile, it looks as if applicants with relevant skills and training will also be able to find work in Wyoming after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently announced what he said could be the largest wind energy project in the U.S.

The Associated Press reports that Salazar said officials could break ground on the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project as early as next year in south-central Wyoming. The massive project is expected to create approximately 1,000 construction jobs and 114 new, permanent operation and maintenance openings once it is operational in 2016. 

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