This post was written by Allie Brown, Renewable Energy Intern for SACE.
Spending my 4th of July on the beach made me realize two things, American patriotism is abundant and so is our wind energy resource. This connection may seem odd, but with the sand constantly blowing in my face and American paraphernalia widespread, I couldn’t help but turn my day into a Wind Energy Independence Day. What could be more patriotic than energy made in America?
According to the American Wind Energy Association, the American wind industry provided 80,700 full-time jobs in 2012. Manufacturing, a crucial segment of the wind industry, plays a notably large role in stimulating local jobs with over 550 facilities across the country. In addition, wind is cost-competitive with other sources of electricity and this homegrown energy resource helps shield our country from the interests of hostile countries.
Even with the many benefits this American energy source provides, the media often confronts wind energy with a political rhetoric that depicts a partisan divide. Yet, as President Obama mentioned a few weeks ago in his climate change speech, “75 percent of all wind energy in this country is generated in Republican districts.” That’s why Republican governors from Iowa and Kansas expressed support for the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). In Georgia, recent support for solar power ranged from Tea-Partiers to Democrats, showing that bipartisan support for clean energy sources is possible. Wind power isn’t red or blue; it’s red, white AND blue!
Wind already plays a crucial role in the American energy sector, but bipartisan actions to promote continued investments in wind energy are needed from Congress to increase the utilization of wind energy here in the Southeast. Stay tuned for my blog entry next week—I’ll be looking for solutions in D.C. to see what actions are taking place on Capitol Hill to further encourage wind energy development.