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Scrapbook: Georgia Activists Rally for Offshore Wind Power

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October 15, 2012

Georgia Activists Rally for Offshore Wind Power

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Between 300 and 400 Georgia Sierra Club members and supporters came together on Tybee Island, near Savannah, for an end-of-summer rally to support the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the creation of wind energy jobs in Georgia.

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The "Wind Works: for Jobs, for Georgians" rally was co-sponsored by the Sierra Club and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

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Volunteers gathered more than 150 petition signatures asking Governor Nathan Deal to encourage the creation of wind-energy jobs in Georgia by joining the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium. Deal is one of only two Atlantic coast governors not currently 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. If the PTC isn't renewed by the end of this year, the U.S. wind industry would take a major hit and 35,000 to 40,000 jobs could be lost.

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Wind-energy supporters wrote to the governor, engaged beach-goers with kite flying, helped kids make pinwheels, and talked up offshore wind energy and its job-creating potential in interviews with local newspapers and television stations.

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Above, two local residents tell the camera why they support offshore wind. Below, Savannah-based country rockers The Train Wrecks—"the hardest-gigging band in Savannah"—were on hand to lend their musical and moral support to the cause.

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Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman, City Councilman Paul Wolff, Georgia Public Service Commission candidate Steve Oppenheimer, Georgia State Senator Lester Jackson, and representatives from the Georgia-based Center for a Sustainable Coast and Florida-based Integrated Wind Energy Services joined citizens in urging Congress to pass the PTC and Governor Nathan Deal to get on the offshore wind bandwagon.

Buelterman-&-Jackson

That's Mayor Buelterman, above left, and Senator Jackson, above right, at the rally. Below, Councilman Wolff and Sierra Club Coastal Group volunteer leader Karen Grainey speak up for offshore wind on the WTOC-TV morning news.

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Screen shot courtesy of WTOC-TV Channel 11 News

"Georgia needs leaders who will stand up for Georgia jobs," Seth Gunning, an organizer with the Sierra Club's Move Georgia Beyond Coal campaign, told the Savannah Business Journal. "With such a large potential for wind energy in Georgia waters, Governor Deal should be leading the way in creating lasting, 21st-century clean-energy jobs for Georgians."

That's Gunning, below, at the Tybee Island rally. "Karen Grainey and Steve Willis, co-chairs of the Georgia Sierra Club's Coastal Group, deserve very special shout-outs for their work with the media and turning out elected officials to the rally."

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According to the Department of Energy (DOE), Georgia has the fourth-largest accessible offshore wind energy potential of all Atlantic coast states. About 2,000 Georgians are currently employed in-state manufacturing some of the 8,000+ parts needed for wind turbine construction. DOE estimates that developing even a small fraction of the state's 14,500-megawatt offshore wind potential could result in an additional 20,000 wind-energy-related jobs.


TAKE ACTION
Check out the Sierra Club's Wind Works campaign, and write to your representative in Congress urging them to support renewal of the Production Tax Credit.

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