According to a report released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), BlueGreen Alliance and the United Steelworkers, the U.S. wind industry can create tens of thousands of additional jobs manufacturing wind turbines and components if the U.S. passes long-term policies that create a stable market for the domestic wind energy supply chain.
“Wind energy provides one of the most promising sources of new manufacturing jobs for American workers,” said Rob Gramlich, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for AWEA. “This report shows how the right policies such as a Renewable Electricity Standard will build the supply chain and create those jobs.”
“This report represents a major alignment between our goals for energy independence and creating the clean energy jobs of the future,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “This ‘manufacturing blueprint’ is a critical step toward ensuring that we don’t replace our dependence on foreign oil with a dependence on Chinese-made wind turbines. With the right policies, clean energy will help revitalize American manufacturing. We must ensure that American manufacturers have the resources they need to build clean wind energy components and by doing so, help establish America as a global leader of clean energy technologies.”
Winds of Change: A Manufacturing Blueprint for the Wind Industry highlights growth for the American wind industry despite the absence of a long-term and stable market for wind energy, or policies to support wind’s manufacturing sector. While the growth in wind energy manufacturing has been steady — growing from 2,500 workers in 2004 to 18,500 in 2009 — tens of thousands of additional jobs manufacturing wind turbines and components, such as towers, gearboxes, and bearings, could be created with policies that establish a long-term, stable market and support the manufacturing sector’s transition to the wind industry.
“Moving to clean energy is just one piece of the puzzle — we need to ensure that America’s clean energy economy is built by U.S. workers, and creates good manufacturing jobs,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers. “By including common-sense policies like a 25% Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), and an extended Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, in comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation, we can build a wind energy supply chain in the U.S.”
The report follows a recent announcement by AWEA and USW on a “framework agreement” to accelerate the development and deployment of wind energy production in the U.S. The report recommends a federal RES of 25% by 2025 with meaningful mid-term targets, regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, and policies specifically aimed at building the U.S. wind energy manufacturing sector.
“Failure to act presents the very real danger that the United States will fall further behind in the race for clean energy and the manufacturing jobs that come along with it,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “We need to pass a comprehensive plan now to establish the United States as the global leader in clean energy technologies.”
Along with the RES, specific policies aimed at building the wind manufacturing sector include extending and strengthening the Recovery Act’s convertible tax credit program (1603), fully funding the Green Jobs Act, building a transmission grid infrastructure to meet the demand for clean energy and utilizing loan guarantee programs for commercial manufacturing of clean energy.
The report recommends passing Senator Sherrod Brown’s IMPACT Act, which creates a state-level revolving loan fund to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers retool for clean energy markets and adopt energy efficient manufacturing. The report also recommends extending and strengthening the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit with specific incentives and accountability provisions to maximize domestic job creation, including giving highest priority to projects that manufacture clean energy component parts.