The anemic U.S. economy could get a boost from a surprising source. A study released last week calculated that 70,000 new jobs could be created by the Atlantic Wind Connection over a 10-year span as the offshore wind industry grows. The project includes installing an immense transmission backbone along the East coast connected to a chain of offshore wind farms, and is supported in part financially by Google Energy. The aforementioned jobs would be created by manufacturing, building, operating and maintaining wind turbines, and an additional 40,000 jobs would be needed to serve the supply chain.
The 110,000 jobs directly created by the industry and supply chain do not take into account 50,000 jobs that could be generated from the additional economic activity effect. That is when workers in the area use local businesses to meet their daily needs such as grocery stores and housing.
The project entails construction of a 380-mile power line from Virginia to New Jersey that enables up to 7,000 megawatts of electricity to be produced from offshore wind farms. That’s enough electricity to power over 2 million homes in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Backers of the Atlantic Wind Connection commissioned the study by information and analytics company IHS Inc. which concluded that large-scale wind development along the Atlantic seaboard would also have a combined economic impact for the states of $19 billion and increase local, state and federal government revenues by $4.6 billion.
Wind energy generates more than just renewable energy; it creates actual jobs too and during a time when the nation’s flagging economy badly needs them.