ABC World News aired a story on February 9 based on a report by the American University purporting to show how stimulus, or Recovery Act, funds were being used to create jobs overseas. Their story could not be further from the truth. The Recovery Act funds have actually saved jobs and provided an economic stimulus to communities all across America.
Following are examples of inaccuracies and distortions that we believe warrant an on-air correction:
ABC/AU: "But the study found that nearly 80 percent of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines."
Fact: 100% of Recovery Act money goes to wind power projects built in the US. The convertible tax credit program referenced above does not go to turbine manufacturers. Every penny of the money from the Recovery Act is provided as a tax credit for investment in American wind energy projects built in the U.S. Over 50 percent of wind turbine value, such as towers, blades, nacelle assembly, and some internal components are made in the US.
ABC/AU: "Most of the jobs are going overseas," said Russ Choma of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University (AU).
Fact: Not true. Jobs in construction, transportation, civil and electrical engineering, and operations and maintenance are American and cannot be outsourced. Jobs in these areas were created and saved as a direct result of the Recovery Act and we have substantiated that. The reporter from AU provided no evidence of jobs created elsewhere.
ABC: "Even with the infusion of so much stimulus money, a recent report by American Wind Energy Association showed a drop in U.S. wind manufacturing jobs last year."
Fact: Jobs increased in wind farm development and decreased in manufacturing ending the year with no losses overall in the industry. Were it not for the Recovery Act, we estimated a loss of as much as 40,000 jobs.
ABC/AU: "Several of the large European turbine manufacturers had limited manufacturing facilities in the United States. One reason so much money is going overseas is that there is not much of a wind power industry in the United States."
Fact: The U.S. wind industry employs approximately 85,000 workers. In 3 years, we went from 2 turbine manufacturers with facilities in the U.S. to 9 and 4 more have announced plans for factories here. It takes time to ramp up an industry, but the US wind industry been going at full-speed since 2005 and prior to the financial crisis, adding, expanding or announcing over 55 new manufacturing shops in 2008.
These are just a few of the inaccuracies and distortions. Further, we were not given the opportunity to refute any of Mr. Choma’s findings even after we requested to have the opportunity to do so.
The Real Story:
It is about time that we start attracting investment to make America #1 in wind energy jobs, production and manufacturing.
Governors and economic development offices around the country know that and are reaching out to wind farm developers and turbine manufacturers to attract wind turbine investment and factories because they know it will mean jobs for their constituents.
Iowa Governor Chet Culver says:
"Iowa is very proud of all nine wind manufacturing companies in the state. They are a vital part of Iowa’s economy and we are actively recruiting more. Of the nine companies in Iowa, three are foreign companies. Despite the location of their headquarters, these firms building turbines, gear boxes towers and blades are creating over 2,300 jobs in the state and have also spurred demand from over 200 Iowa companies in their supply chain."
AWEA CEO Denise Bode says:
"If the charge is that we are trying to attract global companies to invest in America and create jobs, we plead guilty. We need more American jobs, not less. The American wind industry is proud of its record of creating and sustaining American jobs—85,000 so far, even during this recession. We are proud of all of our members who are investing in the U.S. wind energy market and creating American jobs because they see great opportunity here."
AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind industry, with more than 2,500 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America.