Hundreds rally to show why wind works for America -

Hundreds rally to show why wind works for America


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. 

Wind turbines on grass field with sunlight behind dark cloud before sunset

Total Domination: Renewables Account For Majority Of New U.S. Capacity (Again)


Renewable energy dominated new U.S. electrical generation put into service during 2016, according to nonprofit SUN DAY Campaign.

Citing stats from the latest issue of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update” report, SUN DAY says newly installed capacity from renewable sources (biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind) equaled 16,124 MW – or 61.5% of all new U.S. capacity added in 2016. SUN DAY says that exceeds newly installed capacity from natural gas (8,689 MW), nuclear power (1,270 MW), oil (58 MW) and coal (45 MW) combined.

The nonprofit notes 2016 was the second year in a row in which the majority of new generating capacity came from renewable energy sources. In 2015, renewable sources added 12,400 MW of new generating capacity – or 64.8% of the U.S. total. For comparison, almost half of new capacity (49.6%) came from renewables in 2014.

During 2016, new wind generating capacity grew by 7,865 MW and was nearly matched by new solar generating capacity (7,748 MW), according to SUN DAY’s analysis. There was also 314 MW of new hydropower capacity and 19 MW of new biomass capacity; however, there was no new geothermal steam capacity added in 2016.

The rapid growth of renewables – particularly solar and wind – has resulted in their seizing an ever-growing share of the country’s total generating capacity, the group points out.

Five years ago, renewable sources cumulatively accounted for 14.26% of total available installed generating capacity. Now they provide almost one-fifth (19.17%): hydropower at 8.50%, wind at 6.92%, solar at 2.00%, biomass at 1.42%, and geothermal at 0.33%, according to SUN DAY.

In addition, each of the non-hydro renewables has grown during the past half-decade, and their combined capacity (10.67%) is now greater than that of nuclear power (9.00%) and nearly three times that of oil (3.79%).

By comparison, SUN DAY continues, the shares of the nation’s energy capacity provided by oil, nuclear power and coal have all declined. Today, oil’s share is only 3.79%, nuclear power is 9.00% and coal is 24.65%; five years ago, they were 4.61%, 9.44% and 29.91%, respectively. The nonprofit says only natural gas has experienced modest growth: from 41.60% in 2011 to 43.23% today.

According to SUN DAY, the greatest percentage increase of any energy source has been experienced by solar, whose share of the nation’s generating capacity (2.00%) is now nearly 12 times greater than it was in December 2011 (0.17%). Moreover, its growth is accelerating: New solar capacity in 2016 (7,748 MW) more than doubled that added in 2015 (3,521 MW). It now exceeds that of biomass and geothermal combined, the group concludes.

 Read the full article here. 
Courtesy of Pexels

Wind power is beating the pants off of other renewables.

Courtesy of Pexels

Courtesy of Pexels


The industry is growing so fast it could become the largest source of renewable energy on both sides of the Atlantic.

In America, wind power won the top spot for installed generating capacity (putting it ahead of hydroelectric power), according to a new industry report. And in the E.U., wind capacity grew by 8 percent last year, surpassing coal. That puts wind second only to natural gas across the pond.

In the next three years, wind could account for 10 percent of American electricity, Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, said in a press release. The industry already employs over 100,000 Americans.

In Europe, wind has hit the 10.4 percent mark, and employs more than 300,000 people, according to an association for wind energy in Europe. Germany, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, and Lithuania lead the way for European wind growth. In the U.S., Texas is the windy frontier.

“Low-cost, homegrown wind energy,” Kiernan added in the release, “is something we can all agree on.”


Wind is a Mainstream Energy Source in Corporate America


Wind has become the go-to energy source for many of America’s Fortune 500 companies, including Facebook, Google and General Motors, writes American Wind Energy Association Senior Analyst Hannah Hunt. “From Facebook data centers to Tide laundry detergent, America’s favorite brands increasingly have one thing in common: a pledge to transition to 100 percent renewable energy, and they’re choosing wind as a low-risk, reliable solution,” she writes.

Read the full article here. 


Renewables are Too Strong to be Ignored, says Panel


Renewables and clean energy are taking off around the world and have too much momentum to be interrupted by any potentially negative actions by the Trump administration, according to experts at a roundtable hosted by The Guardian. The Carbon Trust’s investment director, Gina Hall, said she expects the talk about reviving coal jobs to fade next to the market appeal of renewables.

Read the full article, here. 


Rural America Keeps Farming the Wind


We recently reported on the ways wind power has become an economic powerhouse for rural America, leading some observers to call wind “the new corn.”

“One turbine has changed my life,” Ed Woolsey, a fifth-generation Iowa farmer told Bloomberg Government. “Before, I raised corn and soybeans and cattle. Now I don’t. I’m a wind farmer.”

Outlets across the U.S. have picked up on this story, with the latest installment coming from the Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska.

“Wind energy, the fastest-growing source of electricity in the U.S., is transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the federal government gave land to homesteaders 150 years ago,” the paper reported. “As commodity prices threaten to reach decade lows and farmers struggle to meet debt payments, wind has saved family farms across a wide swath of the heartland.”

This has meant all the difference to the men and women working to feed America.

“I’m surprised on days like today when it seems like there’s hardly any wind on the ground and they’re still turning,” said Steve Brockhaus, a Nebraska corn farmer. “I’d take turbines any day.”

In 2015 alone, farmers and ranchers received $222 million in lease payments for hosting turbines. For many of them, it meant the difference between continuing a multi-generation tradition and having to sell off their land.

To read the full article, click here. 


U.S. wind jobs continue booming, top 100,000


he Department of Energy released a new report today highlighting the booming nature of renewable energy jobs—wind power positions now top 100,000.

More Americans now work in wind than in nuclear, coal, natural gas or hydroelectric power plants. These jobs span all 50 states, and tens of thousands are at the more than 500 U.S. factories building wind turbines and parts for them. Importantly, America’s veterans play a big role. They fill roles in the U.S. wind industry at a rate 50 percent higher than the national average.

Beyond manufacturing, the service and maintenance jobs the growing industry creates provide rural Americans with well-paying opportunities. Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found wind turbine technician is the country’s fastest growing job, expected to increase by 108 percent over the next decade.

Researchers predict strong job growth will continue in the years ahead. Wind remains on track to provide 20 percent of America’s electricity by 2030. At that level, it could create 380,000 jobs. It’s hard not to get excited about an economic boom like that.

To read the full article, click here.

Sherbino 1 Wind Farm

The Truth About Wind Power


Wind energy is rapidly expanding our energy mix, affordably and reliably strengthening U.S. energy independence. American ingenuity and improved domestic manufacturing have helped reduce wind power’s costs by 66 percent over years, while technological improvements have made wind economical in more parts of the country. This means wind energy makes financial sense.

Iowa generates over 35 percent of its electricity with wind power, while Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota rely on wind to supply more than 20 percent. Overall, a 13 states generate at least 10 percent of their electricity using wind, while at times Colorado has produced over 60 percent of its energy with wind. This shows us wind is reliable.

And wind power is the biggest, fastest, cheapest way to cut carbon pollution. In 2015 alone, American wind turbines reduced carbon emissions by the equivalent of 28 million cars’ worth. Wind also saves billions of gallons of water every year, while preventing harmful air pollutants that contribute to asthma attacks and other health complications. Wind energy is a path to a better, cleaner future.

For the full article, click here. 


Businesses And States Are United On Clean Energy



You may not know it from the headlines, but Washington is not the only energy game that matters these days. Companies that buy massive amounts of energy and states that set the policies that shape the energy mix of their economies – whether with clean energy or climate-warming fossil fuels – also play a major role.

Corporate and state efforts are driving the country’s extraordinary progress in growing the economy while reducing carbon pollution. Since 2000, according to the Brookings Institute, the U.S. GDP has grown by 30 percent while carbon pollution has fallen 10 percent.

And, judging from business and state actions in recent weeks, interest in using more renewable energy and energy efficiency is getting stronger and shows no sign of abating.

From Mars Inc.’s pledge to expand wind energy to Smithfield Food’s goal to slash its carbon pollution to Google powering all of your map and email requests with emissions-free energy, we have seen a steady drumbeat of new and strengthened green commitments by iconic American businesses. Many of them have announced plans to power 100 percent of their operations with wind and solar. Others are greening their global supply chains with renewables and more efficient water use.

Perhaps the biggest breakthrough was Google’s announcement last week that it will power all 100 percent of its global operations with renewables by 2017. That’s 2,600 megawatts of wind and solar energy from one company alone – enough power for all of San Francisco.

And further adding to this momentum are state lawmakers – both Democrats and Republicans – who are enacting critical state policies that will accelerate these clean energy gains, while adding thousands of new jobs.

Just last week in Michigan, the legislature approved a bipartisan law that strengthens energy efficiency efforts and boosts the state’s renewable portfolio standard. The new law, backed by major giants like General Mills and Nestle, increases the state’s renewable energy goal from 10 to 15 percent and removes artificial caps on efficiency investments – meaning utilities can now do more to help consumers save money on their electricity bills. “Our energy will be more affordable, more reliable and more green,” said Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) of the new law.

Even before passing the new law, the state’s old renewable energy standard had generated $3 billion in new investments while the efficiency provisions have saved ratepayers $1 billion on their electric bills.


DOE Releases Second Annual National Energy Employment Analysis


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Energy today released the agency’s second annual analysis of how changes in America’s energy profile are affecting national employment in key sectors of the economy. By administering a new supplemental survey to over 30,000 energy sector employers, the Department’s 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) tracked dramatic growth in several key sectors of the U.S. economy in 2016.

“This report verifies the dynamic role that our energy technologies and infrastructure play in a 21st century economy,” said DOE Senior Advisor on Industrial and Economic Policy David Foster. “Whether producing natural gas or solar power at increasingly lower prices or reducing our consumption of energy through smart grids and fuel efficient vehicles, energy innovation is proving itself as the important driver of economic growth in America, producing 14% of the new jobs in 2016.”

Some key findings of the report include:

  • 6.4 million Americans now work in the Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency industries which added over 300,000 net new jobs in 2016, 14% of the nation’s job growth
  • Energy efficiency jobs increased by 133,000 jobs for a total of 2.2 million
  • Investments in energy transmission, distribution and storage (our energy infrastructure) generated 65,000 new jobs
  • Solar industry employment jumped by over 73,000 jobs or 25%
  • Wind industry employment added 25,000 new jobs to land at 102,000

Read the full report, here.