Link to ARC home page.

Appalachian Community Leaders Explore Opportunities for Jobs and Economic Growth in the Wind Industry

September 2009


WASHINGTON, September 25, 2009—Approximately 80 local and state leaders from across the Appalachian Region participated in a conference on September 24 in Roanoke, Virginia, to explore the economic opportunities, benefits, and challenges associated with wind energy development.

Sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, the American Wind Energy Association, and the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative, the invitation-only event provided practical guidance on developing wind farms as well as information on workforce needs and siting considerations involved in their construction. Funding sources available for community scale wind development were also highlighted.

"The wind industry is already bringing economic opportunity to the Appalachian Region in the form of jobs and clean energy," stated ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne B. Pope. "ARC and its partners convened this forum for community leaders to generate dialogue about the energy potential of wind so they can make informed decisions that best fit their local development priorities."

Stephen Walz, senior advisor for energy policy to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and director of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, said his state was pleased to host the conference: "We are glad to welcome key community and wind industry leaders to Virginia to help develop the renewable energy and green jobs available from wind power development."

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the U.S. wind industry accounted for 42 percent of new electricity generators installed nationwide in 2008, and created 35,000 jobs that year, boosting the number of people employed in wind power to 85,000.

"Wind is a cost-effective resource today," said Susan Williams Sloan of the American Wind Energy Association. "Appalachian states are already manufacturing components and developing wind energy, and the benefits are being realized in states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia through jobs and increased revenues to townships, counties, and landowners."

Other co-sponsors of the conference included the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, the Maryland Energy Administration, the North Carolina State Energy Office, the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and the West Virginia Division of Energy.

For more information on the event, contact ARC entrepreneurship initiative manager Ray Daffner at 202.884.7777 or at