Teacher and farmer Andy Swapp, who became interested in wind energy when he noticed good soil blowing into his barn on his farm and subsequently put up a meteorological tower to measure the wind resource, now teaches Utah’s only high school course in renewable energy. The met tower on his land drew the interest of developers, which eventually resulted in First Wind’s Milford project. “We’ve [i.e., he and his students] had something to do with every step of the development of our local wind farm, and even today we go out and sit in the maintenance shed, talk to the guys,” says Swapp. “We can go out here any time.”
The wind farm’s impact on the community has not gone unnoticed by anyone, even Milford’s kids. “[The developers] coming there to build that, the wind farm, really helped our community,” says student Nathan Durant, chatting on the video with the U.S. Capitol’s famous dome serving as a backdrop. “Our local economy has really boomed.”
Special thanks go to Swapp and his students for taking that message to Washington because it’s one Congress needs to hear. America’s ability to tap the economic power of wind is now in jeopardy because 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 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 George W. Bush administration.
“The wind turbines industry cannot thank people like Andy Swapp and his students enough for sharing the economic power of wind with their representatives in Washington,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “Americans want more wind energy. At a time when America is hungry for jobs, wind power can deliver. But it can’t do so without stable 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.”
The video not only touches on the impact of wind power on the community of Milford but how the renewable energy source has enhanced the education of Swapp’s students. (“He’s one of the best teachers I’ve had,” says student Juan Madrigal.)
Perhaps Swapp best sums up the message he and his students so very much wanted to impress upon Members of Congress. “Wind power is valuable, it’s something good for our economy,” he says. “And in our opinion, if it’s good for Milford, Utah, it’s good for the United States.”
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.