Timo Macke grew up watching wind farms sprout up around him. That must have planted a seed, because the 20 year-old just received his associate’s degree in renewable energy technology from Columbia Gorge Community College in Oregon.
Macke is featured on the latest segment of WindTV, which is the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) recently launched vehicle to highlight how wind power works for America. Several years ago, Columbia Gorge Community College identified the need for trained workers in the wind industry and responded with a program that is now known throughout the country. Community colleges and other institutions of higher learning continue to establish programs throughout America to help feed the industry with skilled workers who can step into well-paying jobs.
With his new degree in hand, Macke—who can’t help but notice on a daily basis the wind power-related economic activity that bustles in the area—looks forward to a long career in wind power.
“I believe in a brighter future and a better tomorrow,” an inspiring Macke says in the video, seemingly referring to both his own future as well as the nation’s. “But we’ve got to start now. We’ve got to start building.”
Over the last six years, U.S. domestic production of wind turbine components has grown 12-fold to more than 400 facilities in 43 states, including seven facilities and nearly 3,000 jobs in Oregon. But these jobs are in jeopardy without stable tax policy for the wind energy industry. By passing an extension of the federal Production Tax Credit, Congress will save American jobs currently in danger of being shipped overseas and help the wind industry support 500,000 American jobs by 2030 as projected by the U.S. DOE in the George W. Bush administration.
“The American Wind Energy Association is proud to present new WindTV videos each week because they show the real, everyday Americans behind wind power’s exciting economic numbers—the 75,000 people working in the industry, the millions of dollars in tax revenues going to local communities, and the affordable electricity being generated and delivered at locked-in prices,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “Timo Macke represents the present and future of wind power, and wind power represents the present and future of the electric industry. I hope Congress will bear these stories in mind as they consider extending wind energy’s key federal tax incentive.”
Macke certainly plans to be in the industry well into the future. With youthful smile and shrug, he concludes, “As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best, so that’s where I’d like to be.”
WindTV is a showcase of video profiles of Americans whose lives have been positively impacted by the wind energy industry. The site, located at www.awea.org/windtv, features a different video profile each week.