Hundreds of Americans from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C. to show their support for wind energy this week. AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan penned an op-ed in The Hill looking at why they decided to make the trek. Here are a few highlights:
Some are part of America’s 100,000-strong wind energy workforce, or one of the more than 25,000 U.S. workers at over 500 factories building wind-related parts. Thanks to their work, wind is now the largest source of installed renewable generating capacity in the U.S., and the country’s fourth largest source of electricity overall… Some of this week’s travelers are the men and women who serve our country. Veterans make up an important part of wind power’s highly skilled workforce, and the U.S. wind industry employs them at a rate 50 percent higher than the average industry. We’re proud to offer good career opportunities to those who have served.
Others felt it was important to attend for different reasons.
Wind is bringing economic development to rural America in nearly unmatched ways. For example, the country’s farmers and ranchers are paid $245 million a year for hosting turbines, a figure that’s constantly growing. That’s stable revenue they can count on when commodity prices fluctuate or weather hurts the harvest. Wind has become their drought-proof cash crop. For many families, this income is the difference between losing a multi-generational way of life, and passing on the family tradition. Entire towns benefit when wind projects are built, not just those who lease their land for turbines. That’s because wind farms significantly expand local tax revenue or make direct payments in county budgets. This offers new resources towns use to fix roads, buy new fire trucks or improve local schools. It helps keep local taxes low.
Wind works for any state where it creates new jobs – which happens to be all of them.
Here’s a firsthand look at why so many wind workers felt compelled to share their stories in the nation’s capital.