Opening up “Mike’s Tire and Oil” shop “basically on the flip of a coin” because the area’s economy was failing to provide adequate employment options, Mayer, a lifelong resident of the area, ended up getting a boost from a newcomer in town: wind power. The story of how First Wind’s Milford Wind project has impacted Mayer’s auto shop and other local businesses is the subject of the latest segment on WindTV, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) vehicle to highlight how wind works for America.
In the video, Mayer tells of how he grew up in an area that has experienced “some down times,” as he puts it, through the years. But as soon as the wind farm started going up, says Mayer, “It brought in a lot of new business, a lot of new money—not the same old dollar working itself to death.”
Mayer’s own business instantly saw an uptick, as did others in town, and that uptick has held steady ever since. “Talking with other business owners, they’ve seen the same increases that we’ve seen here—the hardware store, the movie rentals, the pizza place, all the restaurants—it’s been a good influx.”
America’s ability to build on that kind of economic spin-off, however, is in jeopardy. The federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy is scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and already developers are freezing plans for any new projects like First Wind’s Milford facility. By passing an extension of the PTC, Congress will save American jobs currently in danger of being shipped overseas and help the wind industry grow to almost 100,000 jobs four years from now and support 500,000 American jobs by 2030 as projected by the U.S. Department of Energy in the George W. Bush administration.
“Wind power is a vital American economic engine, but, like any industry, it needs stable policy to keep running strong,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “The wind power industry is proud to be a positive force in places like Milford, Utah, and in the lives of Americans like Mike Mayer, but it can do so much more. All that stands in its way is unstable policy. Congress needs to extend the Production Tax Credit so that our companies can get to work and keep driving economic activity in rural America. Jobs like Mike Mayer’s are in jeopardy, while new jobs are hanging in the balance.”
Thanks to the Milford wind farm, wind power economics keep blowing strong for people like Mike Mayer, who looks forward to staying put in his hometown now that he has a business to sustain him. “The more of this we get, the better all of us are,” he says of wind power. “We can stay here as families forever.”
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.
To hear more about how wind power has been a positive force in Milford, Utah, and how the clean, affordable, homegrown energy source is generating good jobs in America, go to WindTV.
Carl Levesque, AWEA Editor & Publications Manager, www.awea.org/blog