Last night, while the world was busy with real news, ABC News presented a fictional account of how the Obama Administration's Recovery Act was being used to ship jobs overseas. Apparently no one at ABC or American University, which sponsored the bogus reporting directly to ABC, understands the way the global economy works–namely, that objects being built in these United States may not be made entirely within our shores. (Like those SUV's that ABC crews use….That's why they call it World News, folks.) Below is an analysis by AWEA's numbers guru Liz Salerno, which ABC declined to post on their site. It shows exactly what was wrong with this story.
She has already provided this information over the past several months to ABC and American University's pseudo investigative team but as they say, never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
The article and report from ABC World News omitted some major facts: 100% of stimulus dollars going to the wind industry have gone to developers of wind projects constructed and operated in the U.S. Rather than shipping jobs overseas, as ABC asserted without a shred of evidence, building these projects created American construction, engineering, installation, transportation and operation & maintenance jobs, just when we needed them.
Repeat: Stimulus dollars aren’t going overseas. In fact, the stimulus dollars are leveraging billions of dollars from around the world and bringing investments INTO the U.S. economy, supporting jobs here. The U.S. wind industry was actually at risk to lose up to 40,000 jobs in early 2009, but it didn't. The Recovery Act funding activated shovel-ready projects that would have otherwise been halted, and kept our industry employed for the most part, saving those 40,000 jobs.
What AU and ABC are really riled up about is the fact the turbines being erected across the United States contain 53% American-made content, instead of 100%. The U.S. wind industry is trying to increase those numbers as fast as it can, encouraging foreign-based manufacturers to locate here, and in just 4 short years we’ve added dozens of new manufacturing facilities. In 3 years, we went from 2 turbine manufacturers with facilities in the U.S. to 11 global turbine manufacturers with facilities in the U.S. and 4 additional turbine manufacturers with facilities announced. It takes time to ramp up, but the industry has been going at full-speed since 2005 and prior to the financial crisis, adding, expanding or announcing over 55 new manufacturing shops in 2008. Ignoring these facts, ABC said, blithely, "there is not much of a wind power industry in the United States." Only 85,000 workers. Sigh.
Like the rest of the economy, the wind industry is currently struggling during the financial crisis to keep our manufacturing jobs and add more; we want the U.S. to be global leader in wind manufacturing. As intended, the Recovery Act provided short term help to keep up our momentum. To make this happen, it is going to take a long-term and stable market, investments from expert companies from around the world, and a backlog of product orders. This can’t happen overnight. Is ABC suggesting we do not want the billions of dollars invested in the U.S. economy just because the investments are from global companies? The wind industry can bring new investment in the U.S. economy, from global and American companies alike, and the end of the day, an American job is an American job, regardless of the name on a uniform.