Domestic energy development should never be a partisan issue. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Tea-Partiers, and Greens can all agree that low-cost, clean, domestically produced energy helps our nation prosper.
While some legislators may have differing opinions on which energy sources fit into each of those categories, real-world power purchases and independent analysis consistently demonstrate that American wind power delivers across the board.
That’s why it’s no surprise that President Obama’s speech last week highlighted a very important point–wind manufacturing and electricity generation facilities are nearly ubiquitous. All 50 states currently either have a wind component manufacturing facility, generate electricity from wind, or both.
As the charts below demonstrate, 76 percent of all elected representatives currently have operating wind projects, wind-related manufacturing facilities, or both in their districts.
Due to the size and complexity of wind turbines, nearly 70 percent of each turbine is now American-made. As a result, 555 manufacturing facilities, across 44 states, are now producing wind energy components. These factories employ over 25,000 Americans, providing well-paid jobs at a time when much manufacturing continues to move overseas.
While partisan rhetoric will sometimes lump our industry in with other policies opposed by some, American wind power often manages to bridge the partisan divide by bringing economic benefits to the many diverse regions of our nation.
In fact, nine of the top 10 Congressional districts with the most installed wind capacity are held by Republicans. These representatives know that wind development delivers economic benefits for their rural communities, while saving water, and reducing pollution from other parts of the utility grid.
Perhaps that’s why Republican thought leaders such as Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich and elected representatives such as Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have voiced support for developing our nation’s abundant wind resources.
Over the last five years, our industry has grown at an average annual pace of 30 percent–pretty impressive considering the nation’s overall economic outlook. Despite policy uncertainty, investors have taken notice of the rapidly growing American wind industry, channeling $25 billion into it last year alone.
As the result of that investment, hard work, and American innovation, our industry has managed to cut the cost of the average wind turbine 90 percent since 1980. Now newly built wind generation is cost competitive with all forms of electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
All too often partisan media reporting and political rhetoric get in the way of a fair discussion of the great successes of our nation’s industries. But Americans of all political persuasions have consistently demonstrated support for developing renewable energy.
While our industry’s job is far from done, as many of us enjoy the long weekend celebrating the 237th anniversary of the birth of our nation, we all should take pride in the American wind power industry’s continued growth.