This blog entry is one in a series from the Southern Wind Energy Association, attending and live blogging at the American Wind Energy Association’s 2016 WINDPOWER Conference and Expo in New Orleans.
We’re off to a great start this year at AWEA’s conference in New Orleans! This year’s conference is centered around the theme “Generation Wind.” With the renewal of the Production Tax Credit and policy stability in the industry, attendees are gearing up for the next phase of wind power to begin. But what does “Generation Wind” mean to our Southern region? Over the past five years, wind turbine technology has significantly improved. Taller turbines with longer blades are now better capable of harnessing the power of the wind. These new turbines operate more reliably, more predictably and at lower costs. Thus, we believe that the next generation of wind power is here in the South.
So, it couldn’t be more fitting that this year’s conference is in the South here in New Orleans. While wind power development is just emerging in the South, this form of electricity has been providing economic and health benefits to communities across the country for decades. In many states, wind power plays a major role – providing reliable and affordable electricity. In fact, last year wind power supplied Iowa with more than 31% of the state’s electricity. It’s simple: more wind power equals more American jobs. The wind industry now provides 88,000 jobs across all 50 states in the U.S., and while there is only one operating wind farm in the Southeast (and the second currently under construction), the wind industry benefits Southerners even now with thousands of manufacturing jobs.
This clean, low-cost form of energy can bring many additional benefits to states across the Southeast. But why take our word for it? AWEA recently launched a project called “InTheirOwnWords” – a video series that features short personal testimonies on how the wind industry has impacted all different kinds of Americans – from developers to landowners to manufacturers. This is an incredible tool to share – especially in a region like the South that is just beginning to get exposed to wind energy development.
Here’s rancher John Dudley, explaining how wind energy is a drought-resistant cash crop for landowners in Texas:
Below, Sandra Hughes discusses her job in the wind energy manufacturing industry and highlights why she loves her job:
To view more of these great “InTheirOwnWords” videos, check out the AWEA YouTube Channel here.