Thursday, May 14, 2009

Indiana officials seek to lure more wind energy jobs

Officials with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the Indiana Office of Energy Development are in Chicago this week, talking with representatives of wind energy companies during what is being billed as the world’s largest wind conference and trade show.

More than 1,200 exhibitors and about 15,000 people in the national and international wind energy business are expected to attend the conference, Windpower 2009.

Representatives from Duke Energy Corp., various Indiana economic development agencies and researchers from Purdue University also will attend the conference.

In April, the American Wind Energy Association ranked Indiana as the fastest growing state for wind energy installations in 2008. It is estimated that more than 800 megawatts of wind energy will be produced in the state by the end of the year, the IEDC said in a news release.

State officials hope to tout that distinction to companies seeking to develop wind farms.

Last month, Dominion Resources Inc. (NYSE: D) and BP Wind Energy launched the first phase of Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County, Ind. The largest wind farm east of the Mississippi, Fowler Ridge is expected to generate enough carbon-free electricity to power more than 120,000 homes, according to the release. The wind farm also is expected to create as many as 200 jobs.

“Indiana has risen quickly as a national leader in wind energy development and is a natural location for future investment from the growing industry,” Indiana commerce secretary and IEDC CEO Mitch Roob said in the release.

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