Wind energy is clean and powers jobs

As wind power makes increasing headway in reducing America’s dependence on fossil fuels and the harmful emissions associated with their use, some have launched an increasingly desperate misinformation campaign to muddy the waters about the indisputable benefits of clean energy. Rolf Westgard’s Dec. 28 op-ed in the News Tribune, “Wind energy isn’t reducing carbon emissions,” suggested he has been misled by this campaign.

U.S. Department of Energy data conclusively show that states that have ramped up wind energy output over the past several years, such as Colorado and Texas, have seen major reductions in air-pollution emissions. In addition, every independent electricity transmission system operator that has examined the issue has found that adding wind energy to the grid results in significant reductions in fossil-fuel use and emissions.

Wind power also requires no mining or drilling for fuel, produces no water pollution or hazardous waste, and uses virtually no water.

More importantly, wind turbines is an American manufacturing success story. With the support of a key incentive, the federal Production Tax Credit, wind energy is powering one of America’s fastest-growing manufacturing sectors. Over the past six years, U.S. domestic production of wind turbine components has grown 12-fold to more than 400 facilities in 43 states, shifting manufacturing jobs from overseas back to the U.S.

But these jobs could vanish if Congress allows the Production Tax Credit to expire, in effect enacting a targeted, job-killing tax increase and sending wind turbines manufacturing jobs to foreign countries. A vote for a Production Tax Credit extension is a vote for growing clean, homegrown, affordable energy resources and badly needed new American manufacturing jobs. News Tribune readers can register their support at

By Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy,