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Offshore Wind = Onshore Jobs for Connecticut?

PHOTO: Wind turbines off the shore of Denmark. Courtesy of NWF.
PHOTO: Wind turbines off the shore of Denmark. Courtesy of NWF.
September 13, 2012

HARTFORD, Conn. - Some of the country's most influential environmental groups say it is time for a concerted effort at building and operating wind-energy turbines in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Connecticut and 13 other states. A new report released today from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), backed by such groups as the Sierra Club and the National Audubon Society, says wind energy will create jobs - up to 300,000 overall, by one estimate - and help stave off climate change, which the groups consider the major threat to living creatures.

Catherine Bowes with the NWF says the build-out has to be balanced by a concern for coastal and marine wildlife.

"It comes down to finding the right project locations, ensuring that strong standards and requirements are put on developers to protect wildlife in the process."

She says while Connecticut's shoreline, most of it on Long Island Sound, does not have the potential for as much win- energy development as other Atlantic Coast states, Connecticut will benefit from power generated by its nearby New England neighbors.

The concentration of urban areas in Connecticut make wind energy desirable, Bowes says.

"The great benefit that Connecticut can see from offshore wind is from adding this clean, new source of energy to the grid to diversify the energy supply."

Bowes says federal, state and local governments need to work together and to work fast, now that wind power seems on the verge of acceptance.

"We fundamentally believe that climate change is the single greatest threat facing wildlife here in America and across the globe. As a result, we're firmly committed to advancing clean energy in a responsible way."

Offshore wind turbines operate in 12 overseas countries, but not a single one has been built off U.S. shores.

The full report is available at www.nwf.org/offshorewind.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - CT