The construction sector has long been a key ingredient to a strong American economy, and these days it’s getting a boost from wind power.
WASHINGTON—The construction sector has long been a key ingredient to a strong American economy, and these days it’s getting a boost from wind power.
That fact comes through in full color in the latest segment on WindTV, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) vehicle to highlight how wind works for America. The segment features two Iowa-based employees from Mortenson Construction, which builds wind farms around the country.
On the video segment, meet James Bulman, the enthusiastic construction superintendent at the Rolling Hills wind project in southwest Iowa, and Ryan Januszenski, the softer-spoken project manager at the site. In their different ways, they thoughtfully share their appreciation for how the wind industry has given them opportunities as well as how the industry has been a positive force for their communities and for America.
“We have over 250 employees here, and at least 200 of those are local employees,” says Bulman. “So it’s nice to bring a little bit of economics to the local community.”
Januszenski, meanwhile, is well aware not only of what’s going on at the construction site but in the entire wind energy supply chain. Not only have Americans workers done everything from the design and project execution of the wind facility, Januszenski notes, but most of the major components of the turbines being deployed at the site were built in America—and some nearby in the Midwest.
“I love doing what I do. It’s something I enjoy, waking up every morning to go out there and provide renewable energy for the country,” says Januszenski. “I come here every day and feel a great accomplishment that I’m providing for future generations to come.”
New wind projects for Bulman and Januszenski to build, however, are in danger. The federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy is scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and already developers are freezing plans for any new projects for American companies like Mortenson Construction to build. By passing an extension of the PTC, Congress will save American jobs currently in danger of being shipped overseas and help the wind industry support 500,000 American jobs by 2030 as projected by the U.S. Department of Energy in the George W. Bush administration. A new study finds that with stable tax policy the wind industry can create grow to almost 100,000 jobs in the next four years, including growing the wind manufacturing sector by one third to 46,000 American manufacturing jobs. And extending the PTC would keep the wind industry on track toward supporting 500,000 American jobs by 2030.
“It’s a thrill to hear workers like James Bulman and Ryan Januszenski tell their stories about their careers in wind power because these are the people who make our industry happen,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “The wind industry stands ready to keep fueling the construction sector, but Congress must do its part by extending the Production Tax Credit as soon as possible. Layoffs have already begun and will only get worse as we near the expiration deadline.”
WindTV is a showcase of video profiles of Americans whose lives have been positively impacted by the wind energy industry. The site, located at www.awea.org/windtv, features a different video profile each week.
To hear more about the construction side of wind power and how the clean, affordable, homegrown energy source is generating good jobs in America, go to WindTV.