As midterm elections approach, candidates are more concerned than ever with job creation. Many incumbents and challengers alike are turning to clean energy as a source of major job growth.
The wind energy industry has employed an average of over 50,000 Americans over the last five years. These jobs have bolstered many communities across the country.
In Oklahoma, the Canadian Valley Technology Center offers a wind technology certification program. The entire graduating class recently received job offers on the same day. All of the jobs pay $17 or more per hour and offer benefits.
If the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics' predictions are correct, wind technology graduates will continue to fare well. By 2022, the number of wind jobs is expected to be 24 percent higher than 2012 numbers. That growth is twice the national employment growth average.
Clean jobs matter to voters in communities with potential job growth in renewable power. In Newton, Iowa, offshoring a Maytag factory deprived the town of jobs they'd depended on since the 1800's. TPI Composites, a wind blade manufacturer, stepped in to fill that gap. The TPI factory in Newton today employs roughly 800 people.
As the Iowa Senate election approaches, many voters want to continue policies that appropriately value low-carbon energy sources – like the federal renewable energy Production Tax Credit. A recent poll found that the vast majority of Midwest voters, including those in Iowa, support wind power. So those running for office in Iowa would be smart to support an industry creating economic benefits that enjoys such high popular support.
I n Cape Cod, the race for State Senate has also put a spotlight on jobs and clean energy. Five-time state representative Matthew Patrick has focused his campaign on job creation in the clean energy industry. Central to his job creation plan is a wind project to be built on Nantucket Sound starting next year. This and other projects are the reason that Massachusetts' clean energy economy is growing much faster than other industries in the state, according to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
With the focus on jobs going into midterm elections, the focus should also on clean energy. As voters enter voting booths, many are likely to have the economy at the top of their minds and wind energy is a great way to deliver on economic growth.