My whirlwind tour of Colorado’s wind industry ends today, and as I look back I’m left feeling there’s an overarching theme: second chances.
We met so many people on our visit who got second chances because of wind energy.
We spoke with farmers who were able to keep their land, and pass it on to their sons, because of the lease payments they receive for hosting wind turbines.
I heard from employees at Vestas’ blades and nacelles factories who were laid off from positions in other industries, or had to close their small business during the recession. They all raved about their careers building wind turbines, and spoke powerfully about the opportunities they now have both professionally and for their families because they have a job working in wind.
There was a wind farm manager who got a second chance at providing for his family after he couldn’t make ends meet as a small town policeman, and the students we met at wind tech training schools who came from disadvantaged backgrounds and are now on the path to rewarding livelihoods. We also heard about veterans looking to start new careers after finishing their service, and how well their skill sets align with wind jobs.
On Monday, we met with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. They explained that Colorado was one of the last states to enter the recession, and one of the first to come out of it. The state’s diversified economy, which clean technology plays a huge role in, helped it weather the lean years. All week long I saw evidence that proved this to be true.
I’ve come away from this trip more convinced than ever that continuing to grow wind power is helping us build a better today and tomorrow.