AWEA traveled to Tech Advantage last weekend to plug into the concerns of the members of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). NRECA's conference and expo attracts several thousand representatives each year from these rural electric utilities — many located in the windiest part of the United States.
AWEA’s Jeff Anthony, Manager of Utility Programs, sought out NRECA members to inform them about the economic development and green jobs benefits from wind power, especially to utilities located in the Plains states.
“The Great Plains wind resource is a huge economic engine that can have an impact far beyond the region, once tapped. The economic benefits for the region include revenue for local governments and landowners and jobs in construction, operations, manufacturing, and transportation." Anthony said.
During 2008, rural electric co-ops in Minnesota, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Indiana installed wind power totaling more than 300 MW. AWEA will continue to work with rural electric cooperative utilities in 2009 to help them realize the economic and environmental benefits of wind energy.