AWEA blasts Schumer effort to shut down wind power grant program By Chris Madison (AWEA)

Here is a statement released today by AWEA CEO Denise Bode, in response to a proposal by Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and others to deny Recovery Act grants to projects containing less than 100% U.S. manufactured components:

At a time when the construction unemployment rate is nearly 25% and the manufacturing unemployment rate is 13%, this proposal would cost 50,000 American workers their jobs.

The truth is, by law, Recovery Act grants can only be used to finance wind power projects that are being built in the United States.

This proposal would torpedo one of the most successful job creation efforts of the Recovery Act, which has already preserved half of the 85,000 American jobs in the U.S. wind energy industry.

Rather than adopt policies that will kill American jobs, Congress should enact policies that will create jobs by encouraging manufacturers to invest in U.S. plants. That means passing a Renewable Electricity Standard now.

The Recovery Act has been creating jobs by helping finance new American wind energy projects that have broken ground or been completed since the Act was passed. The proposed moratorium and legislation would kill this effort and destroy the momentum for one of the few industries that has been creating jobs and economic growth.

It is unfortunate that the proponents of this moratorium and legislation are using a deeply flawed study as the basis for a policy that would destroy tens of thousands of American jobs.

We support the goal of continuing the rapid expansion of U.S. wind manufacturing. More than half of the value of wind turbines used in U.S. wind power projects is domestically produced, and that percentage is increasing every year as more turbine makers build U.S. manufacturing capability.

We do not have the capability today to produce 100% of wind turbine components in the U.S., but we can grow our manufacturing base and add 274,000 American jobs if Congress passes a strong Renewable Electricity Standard.

Delivering the message on manufacturing and transmission

AWEA CEO Denise Bode joined a panel at the Energy Biz Forum here in Washington. The audience was largely executives from the electric utility industry.

“[The U.S. is] actually becoming a manufacturing headquarters, with the share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components increasing from 25% before 2005 to over 50% in 2009," Bode said. "That is why I am so passionate about a long-term policy for renewable energy. We have the opportunity to lead if we take action now.”

When asked about utilities’ and and states’ concerns about the progress of Congress granting the federal government authority to break through transmission planning barriers, Bode, a former state utility commissioner, said: “ I come from the view that this can be done. We have to modernize the grid, not just for renewables. The signal is given at the federal level to indicate this is in the national interest, and the implementation will be regional, through cooperative action.”

–Guest Blog by AWEA’s Christine Real de Azua

By Chris Madison,