The American wind power industry is creating jobs and investment in 2013, building on the momentum of the industry’s strongest year ever. In 2012, wind energy for the first time became the number one source of new U.S. electric power generation, providing some 42 percent of all new generating capacity.
WASHINGTON—The American wind power industry is creating jobs and investment in 2013, building on the momentum of the industry’s strongest year ever. In 2012, wind energy for the first time became the number one source of new U.S. electric power generation, providing some 42 percent of all new generating capacity.
Projects that are helping the wind industry strengthen America’s manufacturing sector and rural communities include:
• Wind industry projects in Texas, seen as important sources of new engineering jobs. The Houston Chronicle reports, “Andrew Swift, director, Texas Wind Energy Institute and Texas Tech’s wind-degree program, believes two engineering disciplines are in highest demand in the wind-energy sector – mechanical and electrical.” (February 25, 2013, Houston Chronicle)
• Vestas Wind Systems A/V’s addition of more than 100 workers at its tower manufacturing plant in Pueblo, Colo., offsetting a previous reduction in workforce at blade factories in Windsor and Brighton, Colo. (January 16, 2013, KOAA.com)
• EDF’s 300-megawatt Pleasant Valley Wind Farm in Mower County, Minn. “It is one of the largest wind farm developments in the state of Minnesota with advanced permitting and [is] ready to build,” RES Americas Vice President of Development Joe DeVito told the press. (January 7, 2013, Austin Daily Herald)
• The Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center near Elgin in northern Nebraska, which represents a $350 million capital investment and could create 300 construction jobs. (January 4, 2013 Journal-Star)
• Geronimo Wind Energy’s Courtenay, N.D., wind farm, which could be sized between 100 and 200 megawatts and range from about 58 to 120 turbines. The total cost of the project would be between $200 million and $350 million. (January 7, 2013, Prairie Business)
• St. Louis-based companies Emerson, electric component maker ABB and carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek. As the St. Louis Business Journal reported, “Zoltek was already ‘well on the way to a record year in fiscal 2012’ thanks to its growth in the wind energy industry, according to chairman and chief executive Zsolt Rumy. The extension of the Production Tax Credit will help Zoltek keep that momentum going in 2013, Rumy said. ‘This is definitely helpful because investors were holding back on projects to see what would happen.’” (January 2, 2013, St. Louis Business Journal)
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Interim CEO Rob Gramlich said, “We are encouraged to hear that the companies are re-hiring workers and putting Americans back to work. After investing $25 billion of private capital into the U.S. economy last year, the wind industry looks forward to driving investment into more local communities and supporting continued American manufacturing jobs. These stories are an indication that we’re off to a great start.”