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Wind Energy Conserving Water

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON: AWEA.ORG 

The production of clean wind energy reduces the consumption of water, which is heavily relied on to cool thermal power plants. It also avoids significant carbon dioxide emissions annually by displacing generation from fossil fuel power plants.

Water Use in the Power Sector

The power sector withdraws more water than any other sector in the United States, including the agricultural sector. By displacing electricity generation from other sources, wind energy avoids water withdrawals and consumption, preserving the water for other uses.

  • For thermal power plant cooling (coal, natural gas, nuclear), water is withdrawn to circulate for cooling, therefore is removed from the ground or diverted from a surface source for use. A fraction of the water withdrawn is actually consumed (or not returned to the source) because it evaporates or transpires.
    Even through the fraction of water consumption is small compared with water withdrawals in the power sector, water consumption for power generation still totals an estimated 1 to 2 trillion gallons of water each year (~11 trillion bottles of water). Withdraws of water for power sector cooling total an estimated 22 to 62 trillion gallons annually.

Water Conserved by Wind Energy

The 191 million megawatt-hours (MWh) generated by wind energy during 2015 helped avoid the consumption of roughly 73 billion gallons of water, the equivalent of 226 gallons per person, or 553 billion bottles of water.

AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2015

AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2015

During 2014 in California, wind energy saved 2.5 billion gallons of water by displacing water consumption at the state’s thirsty fossil-fired power plants, playing a valuable role in alleviating the state’s record drought. Wind energy’s annual water savings work out to around 65 gallons per person in the state (200 gallons per household), or the equivalent of 20 billion bottles of water.

For more more on water use in the power sector, click here. 

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Wind power provides half of the electricity on US grid for first time ever

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON: INDEPENDENT.CO.UK

WRITTEN BY: SCOTT DISAVINO 

Wind briefly powered more than 50 percent of electric demand on Sunday, the 14-state Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said, for the first time on any North American power grid.

SPP coordinates the flow of electricity on the high voltage power lines from Montana and North Dakota to New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana.

Wind power in the SPP region has grown significantly to over 16,000 MW currently from less than 400 megawatts in the early 2000s and is expected to continue growing. One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.

“Ten years ago, we thought hitting even a 25 percent wind-penetration level would be extremely challenging, and any more than that would pose serious threats to reliability,” SPP Vice President of Operations Bruce Rew said in a statement.

“Now we have the ability to reliably manage greater than 50 percent wind penetration. It’s not even our ceiling.”

Wind power briefly reached 52.1 percent at 4:30 a.m. local time on Sunday, SPP said on Monday, beating the previous penetration milestone of 49.2 percent. Wind penetration is a measure of the amount of total load served by wind at a given time.

Currently, wind is the third biggest source of generation in the SPP region, making up about 15 percent of capacity in 2016 behind natural gas and coal. This is the first time that wind was even briefly more than 50 percent of the source of electric power at any US grid, according to SPP.

“With a (generation) footprint as broad as ours, even if the wind stops blowing in the upper Great Plains, we can deploy resources waiting in the Midwest and Southwest to make up any sudden deficits,” Rew said.

Of the 11 states that received more than 10 percent of their power from wind in 2015, the top five are Iowa at 31 percent, South Dakota at 25 percent, Kansas at 24 percent, Oklahoma at 18 percent and North Dakota at 18 percent, all at least partially located in the SPP grid, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Some of the biggest wind farms in the grid are operated by units of Sempra Energy, BP Plc, EDP Energias de Portugal SA, Southern Co and NextEra Energy Inc.

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Bladeless Turbines: The Future Of Wind Energy Harvesting?

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON: MANUFACTURING.NET

As we deepen our understanding of alternative renewable energy sources, researchers and engineers are finding more innovative ways to improve their current models and methods. Wind turbines were one of the first,and remain among the leading generators of clean renewable energy, with over 225,000 up and running throughout the world.

Conventional bladed wind turbines come with their share of shortcomings, however, like their top-heavy design, cumbersome manufacturing and maintenance processes, along with the amount of space a single turbine requires to efficiently harvest the right amount of wind energy.

Recently coming onto the scene is a new kind of bladeless wind turbine that harnesses wind energy through a process called vorticity — a spinning motion of air or fluids. Composed of fiberglass and carbon fiber, bladeless wind turbines are cylindrical structures that offer a less-convoluted and intrusive method of collecting renewable energy. Wind passes through these turbines and shears off the downward side of the cylindrical structure in a spinning vortex, which causes the structure to vibrate. The kinetic energy of the oscillating cylinder is converted into electricity, using a linear generator that’s similar to the model used to harness wave energy.

Not only are the bladeless turbines made with less parts, but these cylindrical oscillators generate electricity at 40 percent less the cost of power than their bladed counterparts. Bladeless turbines cost significantly less to manufacture and maintain (up to 80 percent), which has led to a steady increase in their demand. These cylindrical oscillators are said to be quiet, and aren’t a threat to birds and other avian species, whereas bladed turbines are responsible for more than 368,000 bird deaths each year.

But, because of how new these bladeless wind turbines are, they come with their set of design and functional flaws.

An individual oscillating cylinder can’t convert or capture as much wind energy as a conventional wind turbine. Bladed windmills convert 80-90 percent of kinetic energy into electricity, whereas the bladeless turbines can only convert no more than 70 percent. Bladeless turbines also sweep a smaller area than conventional turbines. To offset these flaws, more bladeless turbines can be installed in a single area, while the minute costs of manufacturing and maintaining bladeless turbines will offset the disparity in energy they harvest compared to bladed windmills.

The effects of airflow from the oscillation that occurs in bladeless turbines have also raised concerns on the rate of energy these structures can capture. Air moving at slow speeds past small-diameter cylinders flow in smooth constant motions. If that diameter is increased, the speed of flowing air becomes turbulent, which produces eddies. The turbulence in flow causes the oscillation frequency of the turbines to fluctuate, which can turn optimal energy production into a tedious ordeal.

There are also a lot of people that dispute how quiet these turbines will truly be, citing the amount of vibrations they produce as cause for concern. Skeptics believe the oscillating frequencies that cause the turbines to vibrate will produce a substantial amount of noise, which has been compared to sounding like “a freight train coming through your wind farm.”

While the early stages of bladeless wind turbine development have shown encouraging signs and results, it’s clear that they come with their set of design and capability flaws that researchers and engineers are working toward improving. Nonetheless, the development of a bladeless oscillating turbine is a step in the right direction toward optimizing and perfecting means of alternative renewable energy.

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Wind energy rise makes 248,000 wind related jobs by 2020 possible

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON AWEABLOG.ORG

WRITTEN BY: JOHN HENSLEY 

As the largest renewable resource in the U.S. grows, so will wind-related job opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Americans.

That was the news released yesterday as AWEA joined Navigant Consulting to release new analysis showing the U.S. wind industry will drive over $85 billion in economic activity over the next four years while wind-related employment will grow to reach 248,000 jobs in all 50 states. By 2020 Navigant expects 33,000 Americans to be working in wind manufacturing facilities, 114,000 Americans to be building, operating and maintaining wind turbines, and an additional 102,000 workers in jobs supporting the industry.

As Washington continues to look for homegrown success stories it can promote, particularly ones hiring good-paying manufacturing jobs across the Rust Belt and investments in rural America, wind power clearly works for America.

Wind brings jobs and economic benefits to all 50 states

U.S. wind power is the number one source of renewable energy generating capacity in the country, and has grown at an average annual pace of 12 percent over the last five years.

The American wind industry is a leading creator of jobs and economic development in areas that need it most, from America’s rural areas to Rust Belt manufacturing hubs. Currently, Texas, the national leader, has more than 22,000 wind jobs. Oklahoma, Iowa, Colorado, and Kansas each have more than 5,000 wind energy employees. In total, half of U.S. states have 1,000 or more wind jobs.

The U.S. wind industry continues to grow American jobs at a rapid pace.

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In 2016, the industry added nearly 15,000 new jobs and now employs a record 102,500 Americans in all 50 states. Since 2013, wind jobs have grown more than 25 percent a year, and wind turbine technician is America’s fastest growing job. The industry provides well-paying jobs in wind energy project planning, siting, development, construction, manufacturing and supply chain, and operations.

The U.S. wind industry is also a major source of investment and economic development. The industry has invested more than $143 billion in U.S. wind projects over the last decade. Put another way, U.S. wind energy invested more in 2016 ($13.8 billion) than the annual revenue of the National Football League (NFL).

What’s even better is how widespread the benefits of wind energy are.

American wind power has wind plants (blue coloring below) or manufacturing facilities (red dots below) in all 50 states. And the Department of Energy recently found that more Americans work in wind than in nuclear, coal, natural gas or hydroelectric power generation.

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Navigant shows wind poised for continued growth

As mentioned above, the new report from Navigant Consulting shows a bright future for wind power in the U.S.

The independent analysis concludes that the U.S. wind industry will drive billions of dollars in economic activity over the next four years while wind-related employment will expand across all 50 states.

The report forecasts wind energy’s growth from 2017 through 2020, in part, by the multi-year extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) in late 2015, and quantifies the jobs and economic benefits associated with those additions.  Navigant finds the multi-year extension of the PTC will enable the development of around 35,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity across the country between 2017 and 2020.

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Wind a Major Source of Economic Investment

In addition to creating jobs, the 35,000 MW of expected wind additions through 2020 will have a significant impact on the economy.

Investments in new wind turbines, construction and operations expenditures, and tax payments will support up to $24 billion in annual economic impact. Over the full 2017-2020 period, wind is expected to drive $85 billion in economic activity.

Much of this economic investment flows to rural areas and manufacturing hubs that need it most. In addition to investments in manufacturing, construction, and operation, wind projects provide substantial funding to states and local communities through sales, income, and property taxes. These localized revenues provide new resources to fix roads, buy ambulances, or improve schools.

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Discover more about the economic benefits of wind and read the full Navigant study here.

U.S. wind power remains on track to supply 10 percent of the country's electricity by 2020.

New Data: Wind Powers 5.5 Percent of U.S. Grid

ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON: AWEABLOG.ORG 

All of the new wind farms built over the past few years are making an impact: new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds the country generated more than 5.5 percent of its electricity using wind in 2016.

That comes on the heels of a recent announcement that wind is now the country’s largest source of installed renewable generating capacity. All told, the U.S. now has enough wind to power 24 million American homes.

Even more impressive results at the state level

At the state level is where things get really exciting. Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma all generated at least 20 percent of their electricity with wind last year. Overall, wind supplies at least 10 percent of the electricity in 14 states.

Most impressive among those rising up the wind energy chart is New Mexico, which increased its total annual wind generation by 73 percent over 2015 levels. Wind reliably supplies just under 11 percent of the state’s electricity.

Growing wind creates a better tomorrow

All of this growth boosts rural American economies. Wind has attracted over $140 billion into the U.S. economy over the last decade, and billions more are on the way. It also offers farmers and ranchers a new cash crop—these landowners are paid $245 million every year for hosting wind turbines.

“Wind power is cheap, clean and infinite, and it saves Oklahomans hundreds of dollars annually on their utility bills,” said Brad Raven, District One Commissioner for Beaver County Oklahoma. “When you consider that landowners receive millions in annual royalties from wind projects, you have an energy sector that is literally saving rural Oklahoma.”

More progress is possible

Wind remains on track to supply 10 percent of the country’s electricity by 2020, and grid operators increasingly find integrating more of it doesn’t pose a problem. The Southwest Power Pool recently set a new record, with wind exceeding 50 percent grid penetration last month. And much more can be done:

“Ten years ago we thought hitting even a 25 percent wind-penetration level would be extremely challenging, and any more than that would pose serious threats to reliability,” said Bruce Rew, Southwest Power Pool’s vice president of operations. “Now we have the ability to reliably manage greater than 50 percent. It’s not even our ceiling.”

Elsewhere, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found 30 percent renewable energy integration was possible in the Eastern Interconnection, the grid serving most of the Eastern U.S., without any further technological advances necessary.

For more information on how wind is reliably and affordably helping the U.S. move toward energy independence, check out this video:

Wind turbines are soaring to record sizes. The average rotor diameter of turbines installed in 2015 grew to 102 meters, up 113 percent since 1998–1999. | National Renewable Energy Laboratory photo.

Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wind Power

ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON: ENERGY.GOV

This article is part of the Energy.gov series highlighting the “Top Things You Didn’t Know About…” series. Find the rest here.

10. Human civilizations have harnessed wind power for thousands of years. Early forms of windmills used wind to crush grain or pump water. Now, modern wind turbines use the wind to create electricity. Learn how a wind turbine works.

9. Today’s wind turbines are much more complicated machines than the traditional prairie windmill. A wind turbine has as many as 8,000 different components.

8. Wind turbines are big. Wind turbine blades average over 160 feet long, and turbine towers average over 260 feet tall — about the height of the Statue of Liberty.

7. Higher wind speeds mean more electricity, and wind turbines are getting taller to reach higher heights above ground level where it’s even windier. See the Energy Department’s wind resource maps to find average wind speeds in your state or hometown and learn more about how taller wind turbines can expand developable areas for wind energy production in the Energy Department’s 2015 Enabling Wind Power Nationwide report.

6. Most of the components of wind turbines installed in the United States are manufactured here. There are 500 wind-related manufacturing facilities located across 43 states, and the U.S. wind industry currently employs more than 100,000 people.

5. Offshore wind represents a major opportunity to provide power to highly populated coastal cities. See what the Energy Department is doing to develop offshore wind in the United States.

4. The United States generates more wind energy than any other country, and wind represented the largest source of all newly installed U.S. electricity generation capacity in 2015.

3. The United States’ wind power capacity surpassed 82 gigawatts at the end of 2016, making it the largest renewable generation capacity in the nation. That’s enough electricity to power more than 20 million homes annually — more than the total number of homes in Alaska, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont combined.

2. Wind energy is affordable. Wind prices for power contracts signed in 2015 and levelized wind prices (the price the utility pays to buy power from a wind farm) are as low as 2 cents per kilowatt-hour in some areas of the country. These rock-bottom prices are recorded by the Energy Department’s annual Wind Technologies Market Report.

1. By 2050, the United States has the potential to create 600,000 jobs, save consumers $149 billion, and save 260 billion gallons of water by continuing to increase the amount of wind energy that powers our homes, schools and businesses. In 2015, the Energy Department released Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States, which quantifies the economic, social, and environmental benefits of a robust wind energy future through 2050.

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Fact Check: The Electricity Grid Relies on Diversified Sources

ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON: AWEABLOG.ORG

Over the last two years, a parade of Fortune 500 companies have made substantial wind power purchases, citing low cost and price stability as reasons why wind power is good for their bottom lines. However, some observers have recently misunderstood how these deals work.

The electricity grid is like an ATM

As we’ve previously explained, the electricity grid can be thought of like an ATM. When a corporate buyer of wind energy says it’s buying enough wind to power a data center for example, that doesn’t necessarily mean the electricity generated by a wind farm feeds directly into the data center. Not only is that technologically impossible, grid operators wouldn’t want to design their system that way.

Here’s how we’ve explained the way companies power their data centers, stores and factories with wind energy in the past:

Say you deposit $20 in the ATM near your office. A short time later, you withdraw it from the ATM near your house. You now have a different bill than the one you deposited, but that’s irrelevant; you still have $20.

This aspect of the banking system is analogous to how the electric power system works: it aggregates all sources of electricity supply and demand over a large geographic area, allowing one to add wind energy in one area and use an equivalent amount of electricity somewhere else on the grid.

Just as it would be impossible and pointless to insist that the $20 bill you withdrew in the banking example be the same bill you had deposited earlier, it would be impossible and pointless to require an electricity user to specify the exact power plant they receive energy from.

The integrated nature of the grid allows companies who wish to use wind energy to add it where it is most cost-effective to do so, even if the location of their primary demand center is in an area that is less suitable for wind generation. Many large companies are now using this strategy to increase the percentage of clean energy on the grid, adding supply in one area and using an equivalent amount of electricity in another. Purchasing wind energy in this way allows these companies to meet their sustainability goals while saving money.

And since the cost of wind has fallen by two-thirds over the past seven years, these companies understand that wind is an economic investment, helping them both hit sustainability targets and reduce fuel price risk at the same time.

No source generates electricity all of the time

Other observers have criticized wind power purchase agreements for factories or data centers by noting that wind doesn’t generate electricity all of the time. But the reality is no energy source does. The average wind turbine generates electricity 90 percent of the time, and modern wind farms often have capacity factors exceeding 40 percent. That’s close to coal plants and exceeds some types of natural gas plants. The performance of all power plants can verified using U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly electricity generation data that is provided for individual utility-scale power generators.

That’s why a diversified power system makes sense. Grid operators can balance out the system as supply and demand fluctuate. And unlike conventional plants, which can go offline suddenly and unexpectedly, removing large amounts of power from the grid, changes in wind output are gradual and can be predicted many hours or even days in advance. The truth is all power sources are required to provide the same reliability services, and wind can actually offer some traditional methods of generation cannot.

With enough wind now online to power 24 million homes, wind energy plays an important role in creating a strong and diversified energy mix. That diversification is a key point to keep in mind when evaluating our power system, and it’s one observers all too often misunderstand or ignore.

Check out this video for another look at how wind power helps keep the lights on for American families and businesses.

Got A Clean Energy Jobs Story?

Got A Clean Energy Job Story?

ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON: NAWINDPOWER.COM

New Campaign Wants You To Spread The Word About Clean Energy Jobs

On the heels of a recent federal report finding that the U.S. now employs more than 3 million workers in the clean energy sector, several groups have launched a new social media campaign that encourages companies and workers to share their employment stories.

Organizers of the #CleanEnergyJobs campaign include Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the American Council on Renewable Energy, AJW (representing energy service companies), the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Energy Storage Association, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

According to a recent U.S. Department of Energy report, the clean energy sector supported more than 3 million U.S. jobs in 2016. This includes more than 600,000 in clean power generation (e.g., wind and solar) and 100,000 in advanced grid technologies, including energy storage.

The groups say the goal of their new campaign is to draw attention to the growing renewable energy industries and their good-paying jobs.

“Today, our organizations, member companies and their workers are celebrating all the people who make up the clean energy industries and the positive impact that we have on the U.S. economy,” says Graham Richard, CEO of AEE. “We are excited to bring visibility to our share of the more than 3 million people that work today in advanced energy across our nation.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA, notes that solar in particular added “one in every 50 new jobs in the economy” in 2016. In addition, it now employs roughly 260,000 U.S. workers, she says.

“These jobs pay well, they support local economies and they fuel American innovation,” Hopper adds.

As for wind power, Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, says, “Wind energy has now created over 100,000 jobs that rural and Rust Belt America need, including more than 25,000 manufacturing jobs in 43 states. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind turbine technician is now the fastest-growing job description in America.”

Read the full article here. 

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Wind Power Surpasses Hydroelectric in a Crucial Measure

ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON NYTIMES.COM

The wind industry crossed an important threshold in the United States last year, exceeding the generating capacity of hydroelectric power for the first time, according to the main industry trade group, the American Wind Energy Association.

The nation’s fleet of dams has long stood as the top renewable energy source, but there has been little market interest in building more big hydroelectric generating stations. In the meantime, wind has rapidly expanded — more than tripling in capacity since 2008 — with many more installations on the way.

An Important Asterisk

The comparison here is limited, measuring the maximum amount of power that generating stations are rated to produce — a threshold few, if any, ever meet. According to the Energy Information Administration, conventional hydroelectric generating capacity stood at 78,956 megawatts in 2015, while wind, the industry group says, reached 82,183 megawatts last year, about enough to run 24 million average American homes. (The hydroelectric figure does not include pumped storage, in which water pumped to an elevated reservoir can be released through a turbine to generate electricity when needed.)

But hydroelectric power could still lead in terms of actual production: According to the Energy Information Administration’s most recent annual electric power report, hydroelectric edged out wind in terms of power sent to the grid by roughly 30 percent in 2015, though both forms trailed fossil fuels and nuclear power by wide margins.

The Question of Efficiency

Any power plant’s potential output can be diminished by a number of factors, including market conditions that render its electricity uneconomical, shutdowns to fix or maintain equipment, orders to curtail unneeded production from system operators and fuel shortages. This is particularly the case for renewable energy sources, whose fuel depends on ever-shifting weather patterns to keep clouds from shading the sun, fill rivers with water and make the winds blow.

Among generators that do not primarily rely on fossil fuels, nuclear plants are the most efficient — they ran at 92.3 percent of their capacity in 2015 — followed by hydroelectric at 35.8 percent that year and wind at 32.2 percent, according to the Energy Information Administration. (Those figures reflect the energy actually generated as a percentage of what a plant could have produced at full, continuous operation during the same period.)

Technological advances in wind design, including taller turbines with longer blades that can harvest energy from a greater variety of winds, are leading to increased efficiency. According to the Department of Energy, projects built in 2014, for instance, ran at 41.2 percent of their capacity the next year.

The Role of Incentives

The main fuel driving the robust spread of wind farms across the country — with a dense cluster sweeping up from Texas through the Great Plains — has been a combination of federal tax incentives and state mandates requiring utilities to buy renewable energy as part of their strategies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to stem climate change.

The federal tax incentive favored by the industry, the production tax credit, was worth 2.3 cents a kilowatt-hour of electricity sent to the grid by projects that began construction in 2015 and 2016, but it is scheduled to phase out by the end of 2019. (In 2015, the average home consumed about 900 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month.) As long as that schedule remains, industry executives say, they should be able to meet their goal of supplying 10 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2020, more than twice the share they accounted for in 2015.

There is, of course, no guarantee that Congress will maintain the tax credit as planned, or that other potential changes to the tax system won’t make the economics of wind less favorable.

A Job Creator

Although the new administration appears far less focused on making carbon dioxide reductions a priority in its energy policy, wind executives say their industry can help reach some of President Trump’s other goals. Those include building new infrastructure — like, say, transmission lines to carry wind power from where it’s made to where it’s needed — and bolstering manufacturing and creating jobs, especially in rural areas.

According to the Department of Energy, the wind industry now employs almost 102,000 workers, up 32 percent from 2015, while the Department of Labor projects wind service technician as the nation’s fastest-growing occupation over the next decade.

Read the full article here. 

Hundreds rally to show why wind works for America - thehill.com

Hundreds rally to show why wind works for America

ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON THEHILL.COM

This week, hundreds of Americans from across the country are coming to Washington, D.C. for one reason: they want to make sure their elected officials know wind energy is making life better for their families and communities. They want to say loud and clear: Wind works for America.

And there are a lot of reasons why we feel this way.

Some are part of America’s 100,000-strong wind energy workforce, or one of the more than 25,000 U.S. workers at over 500 factories building wind-related parts. Thanks to their work, wind is now the largest source of installed renewable generating capacity in the U.S., and the country’s fourth largest source of electricity overall. Many of these factory positions are in the Rust Belt, where wind is helping to bring back American manufacturing jobs. For example, Ohio leads the U.S. with 62 wind plants, while Pennsylvania,Michigan and Wisconsin have 26 each.

Some of this week’s travelers are the men and women who serve our country. Veterans make up an important part of wind power’s highly skilled workforce, and the U.S. wind industry employs them at a rate 50 percent higher than the average industry. We’re proud to offer good career opportunities to those who have served.

Others coming to speak with their representatives hail from America’s fastest growing job description: wind turbine technician. This occupation is growing by 108 percent in a decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (That’s compared to the second fastest-growing job, occupational therapy assistant, expanding by 42 percent in the same period).

Some don’t work in wind themselves, yet see crucial benefits that wind energy brings to their communities.

Wind is bringing economic development to rural America in nearly unmatched ways, because virtually all wind farms are built in rural areas. And 70 percent are located in counties where the local economy is hurting. So the private investment that wind projects bring into communities tends to go right where it’s needed the most. And that’s a lot of investment– $158 billion in the last 10 years.

For example, the country’s farmers and ranchers are paid $245 million a year for hosting turbines, a figure that’s constantly growing. That’s stable revenue they can count on when commodity prices fluctuate or weather hurts the harvest. Wind has become their drought-proof cash crop. For many families, this income is the difference between losing a multi-generational way of life, and passing on the family tradition.

Entire towns benefit when wind projects are built, not just those who lease their land for turbines. That’s because wind farms significantly expand local tax revenue or make direct payments in county budgets. This offers new resources towns use to fix roads, buy new fire trucks or improve local schools. It helps keep local taxes low.

Wind works in Texas, the nation’s leader, with 25,000 wind jobs just in that state. It works in Iowa and Kansas, where wind supplies over 30 percent of the electricity. Wind works for the Rust Belt, and for states like Oklahoma and Wyoming, which have vast wind export potential if we upgrade transmission infrastructure.

Wind works for Rhode Island, where an entirely new ocean energy resource has now been harnessed.

Wind works for states like New York, California, Oregon, Hawaii, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, which have ambitious goals to source 50 percent or more of their electricity from renewable sources.

Wind works for any state where it creates new jobs – which happens to be all of them.

In short, that’s why wind works for America.

Tom Kiernan is CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.

Read the full article here.