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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Billions in Economic Growth via Wind Power Why not in Racine WI

April 29, 2008
Christine Real de Azua (202) 383-2508


AWEA Holds Supply Chain Workshop in Des Moines, April 29-30

Representatives from a diverse range of industries, including foundries, tooling companies, gearbox manufacturers, railroads and other transportation providers, electronics manufacturers and metal fabricators, as well as state economic development officers, will gather at the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Wind Power Supply Chain Workshop in Des Moines, Iowa, April 29-30.

Drawing attention to Iowa as a growing hub for wind power-related job creation, the Iowa Department of Economic Development is co-sponsoring the workshop.

“I'm honored to welcome AWEA to our state,” said Iowa Governor Chet Culver (D). “It is our responsibility to tap clean, renewable energy resources to spur investment and create new, green-collar jobs in Iowa. Communities across Iowa that have experienced real economic challenges, like Keokuk, Fort Madison and Newton, have recently seen a new rebirth by tapping into our booming wind industry. While each of these cities is in the process of adding hundreds of new wind-generation manufacturing jobs, this is only the beginning of what is possible.”

Wind energy has not only helped power many parts of Iowa, but it has provided millions of dollars in economic activity to struggling communities,” added Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). “Wind is an affordable and inexhaustible source of domestically produced energy. We must do everything possible to capture and grow this renewable source of energy all the way up the supply chain."

AWEA expects about 600 attendees, making the workshop the trade group’s largest ever as well as the first aimed at expanding the industry’s “supply chain,” or range of component suppliers.

“The U.S. wind power industry is a bright spot in our economy,” said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. “Every megawatt of installed wind power creates employment in manufacturing, construction and operations as well as jobs in advertising, office support, environmental assessment and other related professions. America’s vast wind resources have barely been tapped, and we have only just begun to see wind’s potential to generate broad economic growth.”

Encouraged by the stability of the federal production tax credit (PTC), U.S. wind industry manufacturing has surged from a very small base in 2005 to more than 100 facilities in 2007.

In 2005, the average wind turbine contained less than 30% American-made components. Today, domestically manufactured content is approaching 50%. (A wind turbine is composed of some 8,000 components, ranging from towers and blades to gearboxes, generators, castings, ball bearings, and electronic components.) New facilities were opened or announced last year in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. These facilities are expected to create more than 6,000 permanent, well-paying jobs. Many of the fastest-growing wind industry suppliers in the U.S. are slated to attend the workshop this week.

“While the wind industry’s strong growth is encouraging, the PTC is in danger of lapsing at the end of this year,” said Swisher. “It is vitally important for Congress and the President to quickly extend the PTC—the primary U.S. incentive for wind power—as part of a long-term policy for renewable energy to foster investment in wind installations, manufacturing capacity and thousands of new jobs.”

At the workshop, industry leaders will discuss the need to ramp up U.S.-based manufacturing and state incentives that encourage such investments as well as projections for growth—which will be determined largely by whether the U.S. government puts in place a strong, supportive, stable policy for renewable energy, starting with a quick extension of the PTC.

For more information, contact Christine Real de Azua,


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