AWEA Interim CEO Rob Gramlich says the industry is proud to have supplied nearly half of America’s new electricity capacity in 2012
The American Wind Energy Association has welcomed President Barak Obama’s renewed commitment to the US wind sector delivered in the President’s State of the Union speech. In 2012, wind moved into first place as the main source of new US electric generating capacity and in his speech the President called upon Congress to strengthen the stewardship of humanity towards the environment while also putting millions of Americans to work in clean energy jobs and manufacturing.
Mr Gramlich said that once again the President has set a goal to double electricity generation from wind, solar and geothermal sources by 2020 while calling on Congress to make the renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) permanent and refundable as part of corporate tax reform. This will additionally provide incentives and create certainty for investors in clean energy.
“We are proud to be recognized for producing nearly half of the nation's new electric capacity last year, creating tens of thousands of jobs, and as a central climate solution” said Gramlich. “Wind power is one of the most beneficial and cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation technologies available to our nation. With over 60 gigawatts of wind power generating capacity now installed in America, wind energy will avoid nearly 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions this year, equal to 1.8% of the entire country's total carbon emissions.”
Mr Gramlich to commend workers in the industry, citing the example of Lee Maxwell, a commissioning technician at Acciona Energy and a graduate of the wind turbine technician programme at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with 26 separate certifications to his credit.
“Utility-scale wind power was invented here” continued Gramlich, “and increasingly the parts are made-in-the-U.S.A. Domestic content in the U.S. industry is up to nearly 70 percent, from 25 percent just a few years ago. That has created 30,000 American jobs in wind manufacturing, and further brought down the cost of wind energy now that we're making most of the parts right here in the U.S.A.
Mr Gramlich called on policymakers everywhere to recognize the opportunities available from renewable energy and supporting the growth of clean energy in their own states.
“Because the Administration and Congress wisely extended the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) at the start of the year tens of thousands of workers in U.S. wind manufacturing facilities can get back to building wind projects and wind turbines” Gramlich said. “Private investors put $25 billion into the U.S. economy in 2012 and got the signal from the PTC/ITC extensions that the U.S. is still open for clean energy business. This is what successful policy looks like. America's homegrown wind energy industry is ready to work with President Obama and the U.S. Congress to advance the goals of energy independence and clean, renewable power that is available and affordable for all Americans."
AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind industry with 2,000 member companies in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service supply.