When it comes to offshore wind energy, the U.S. has been lagging behind European countries for years. Denmark was the first country to venture into the ocean to produce wind power energy back in 1991. Although England has a record number of offshore wind farms and is leading the pack, to date, only 3 percent of wind power comes from offshore wind farms.
While the U.S. has numerous wind farms throughout the states, the first offshore wind farm is going up just off the shores of Rhode Island. The project has been named Block Island Wind Farm and will host five turbines. The turbines should start producing by the end of 2016 and they are expected to deliver enough energy for 350,000 homes in New York and other New England states. Wind energy in the U.S. helps produce needed electricity and cuts down on non-renewable energy, and it provides a host of jobs as well.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the industry added 23,000 jobs last year and had a record beginning in 2015. Significant growth is expected to increase the number of jobs, as more and more states turn to wind energy. Currently, Texas is leading the industry by employing over 17,000, while Colorado and Iowa come in behind Texas with roughly 6,000 wind energy jobs per state.
In order to continue the growth of the wind energy sector, laws and regulations will need to be addressed. Although the U.S. has finally gotten into wind power, China isn’t far behind and will likely take over in the amount they produce. This takeover could happen as soon as a few years down the road. While there are those in power who prefer to rely on gas and oil, it seems as if wind power has taken on a life of its own and may soon become a major player in the energy sector. With proper regulation and laws, this industry could provide many, much needed, good paying jobs.