Below is an analysis by American Wind Energy Association’s numbers guru Liz Salerno, which ABC declined to post on their site. It shows exactly what was wrong with this story.
She has already provided this information over the past several months to ABC and American University’s pseudo investigative team but as they say, never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
The article and report from ABC World News omitted some major facts: 100% of stimulus dollars going to the wind energy industry have gone to developers of wind projects constructed and operated in the U.S. Rather than shipping jobs overseas, as ABC asserted without a shred of evidence, building these projects created American construction, engineering, installation, transportation and operation & maintenance jobs, just when we needed them.
Repeat: Stimulus dollars aren’t going overseas. In fact, the stimulus dollars are leveraging billions of dollars from around the world and bringing investments INTO the U.S. economy, supporting jobs here. The U.S. wind industry was actually at risk to lose up to 40,000 jobs in early 2009, but it didn’t. The Recovery Act funding activated shovel-ready projects that would have otherwise been halted, and kept our industry employed for the most part, saving those 40,000 jobs.
What AU and ABC are really riled up about is the fact the wind turbines being erected across the United States contain 53% American-made content, instead of 100%. The U.S. wind industry is trying to increase those numbers as fast as it can, encouraging foreign-based manufacturers to locate here, and in just 4 short years we’ve added dozens of new manufacturing facilities. In 3 years, we went from 2 wind turbine manufacturers with facilities in the U.S. to 11 global turbine manufacturers with facilities in the U.S. and 4 additional turbine manufacturers with facilities announced. It takes time to ramp up, but the industry has been going at full-speed since 2005 and prior to the financial crisis, adding, expanding or announcing over 55 new manufacturing shops in 2008. Ignoring these facts, ABC said, blithely, "there is not much of a wind power industry in the United States." Only 85,000 workers. Sigh.
Like the rest of the economy, the wind energy industry is currently struggling during the financial crisis to keep our manufacturing jobs and add more; we want the U.S. to be global leader in wind manufacturing. As intended, the Recovery Act provided short term help to keep up our momentum. To make this happen, it is going to take a long-term and stable market, investments from expert companies from around the world, and a backlog of product orders. This can’t happen overnight. Is ABC suggesting we do not want the billions of dollars invested in the U.S. economy just because the investments are from global companies? The wind power industry can bring new investment in the U.S. economy, from global and American companies alike, and the end of the day, an American job is an American job, regardless of the name on a uniform.
Statement by Denise Bode, CEO American Wind Energy Association
Following is a statement issued today in response to ABC World News story about the American Recovery Act and the wind industry
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. We are proud that economic Recovery Act funding is going only to companies who have invested in the United States to create American jobs.
Cape Wind gets Washington Post support
The Cape Wind drama continues; no surprise there. This week Interior Secretary Ken Salazar took a tour of the site of the 420-MW offshore wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound. At the same time, the Interior Department’s Inspector General reported that some federal agencies felt they were being rushed to meet Salazar’s imposed March 1 deadline for a final review. Today the Washington Post carried an editorial suggesting that, because the project has been under review for nine years, "Mr. Salazar should move Cape Wind along. " That’s Sound advice.
AWEA Response to American University Study/ABC World News Story
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.
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.