The wind industry’s strong manufacturing presence in the Southeast, currently under the threat of an expiration of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), will be highly evident June 3-6, when the WINDPOWER 2012 Conference & Exhibition takes place in Atlanta, Ga. That same strong regional presence is apparent in the latest segment of WindTV, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) vehicle to highlight how wind works for America. The segment focuses on the link between the U.S. wind industry’s premier annual event and the region in which it will be located this year.
The link, in fact, is strong. With the Southeast now one of the nation’s manufacturing centers, the wind power industry has tapped the region’s production muscle. Today over 90 plants in the Southeast serve the wind power industry. Meanwhile, technological innovation has made regions like the Southeast that were previously assumed to be not viable for wind power development to now be attractive.
“I think it’s great,” Ken Cole says in the video segment concerning WINDPOWER in Atlanta. Cole, a wind manufacturing technician at ZF Wind Power in Gainesville, Ga., seems well aware of how the industry’s manufacturing presence in the region is not necessarily known around the country. “Generally wind power is associated with the western part of the United States,” he says. “So to have something come here to the Atlanta area is outstanding. I’d say it shows that there’s a firm footing [for the industry] in this country, especially in this locale.”
Thus, WINDPOWER provides the opportunity to educate the country that the industry is providing jobs in every region of America, including the Southeast. Wind energy now employs 75,000 people in the U.S.
The growing manufacturing supply chain in the Southeast and across the nation, however, is in jeopardy. The PTC, wind power’s primary policy driver, is set to expire at the end of the year, and already the supply chain is feeling the effects of the uncertainty. A recent study found that extending the PTC will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration will kill 37,000 jobs.
“Wind power is not only about producing affordable, homegrown energy, it’s about Made-in-the-USA manufacturing jobs,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “We are delivering that message in Washington, D.C., to ensure that Congress takes action as soon as possible to extend the Production Tax Credit. That message also has resounded across our country, particularly in the Southeast, a hub of the American manufacturing renaissance. We’re proud to be a key part of that renaissance, and we’re excited to bring WINDPOWER 2012 to Atlanta. I urge Congress to take notice of our job-generating industry and pass the PTC now.”
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 wind power manufacturing in the Southeast and WINDPOWER 2012, go to WindTV. For more information on WINDPOWER 2012, go to www.windpowerexpo.org.
A House bill seeking to extend the PTC has 90 cosponsors, including 20 Republicans, while a Senate bill to extend it was introduced March 15 by seven Senators, including three Republicans. PTC extension efforts have received the endorsement of a broad coalition of more than 370 members, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Edison Electric Institute, and the Western Governors’ Association. A PTC extension also has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Governors Association, and the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, which includes 23 Republican and Democratic Governors from across the U.S. A PTC extension has been endorsed by a number of newspapers across the country, including the Houston Chronicle, The New York Times, the Denver Post, and the Daily Oklahoman.
By Carl Levesque, AWEA Editor & Publications Manager, www.awea.org/blog