Economic Benefits

Good news: Record wind growth creating new jobs

Good news: Record wind growth creating new jobs

This year we’ve heard a lot about record construction numbers in the wind energy industry. That translates into a hiring surge in the 43 states with jobs in the turbine manufacturing supply chain. 

Illustrating how multiple steps in the value chain are affected, two bits of news have come from a highly visible company at the top of the supply chain (read: an original equipment manufacturer, or turbine OEM), and another company not quite as well known which resides a link away in the chain.

Headlines in Colorado and elsewhere are reporting that Vestas now has 800 open positions in Colorado. The company expects to have more than 2,800 employees in the state by the end of the year, according to the Denver Business Journal1,500 more than at the start of the year. That's the exciting result of multiple turbine orders announced in recent weeks and months.

Photo courtesy of Vestas

Such news ripples through a supply chain that produces some 8,000 components that go into a modern wind turbine. Tower maker Nello Corp. is getting approval from a local planning commission to build a new factory in South Bend, Ind. The company expects to hire 600 workers for the plant.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently was talking about the economic benefits of renewable energy in his home state of Nevada, citing the “thousands and thousands" of jobs it creates.

Such news puts America in the midst of a global trend. Earlier this month, North American Windpower reported that data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that renewable energy may be home to as many as 6.5 million jobs today.

IRENA provided a cautionary note with respect to the U.S. market, among others. The number of wind jobs has risen and fallen with repeated short-term extensions of the Production Tax Credit, the agency noted, followed by a period in which developers don’t know what the rules will be for future wind projects and so can’t move forward.

And so, as the summer weeks pass here in the U.S. and the industry revs up to offer a glimpse of what it can do for America in jobs and electricity generation, it still faces the countervailing effects of policy uncertainty. So it’s time again to take action. 

Visit AWEA's Power of Wind website. It enables wind supporters, meaning the majority of Americans, to easily write their Members of Congress and let them know how important it is to extend the PTC.

That way, wind can continue creating jobs and economic prosperity throughout the USA.



Economic Benefits

Carl has been a part of the AWEA team since 2006. He brings both his expertise in communications as well as experience with the evolving wind energy industry to the job of overseeing AWEA's online and written publications including the Wind Energy Weekly, WINDPOWER Update, WINDPOWER Today, and various print materials. He has worked as a journalist in the energy industry as a staff writer for Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and in the association sector as senior editor at Association Management magazine. He also has covered the home-building industry, where his areas of greatest interest were sustainable development and "smart growth," and has written articles for numerous other publications as a freelance writer. Carl received his B.A. from James Madison University and spent some time in New Orleans employed as a teacher as well as working with homeless youth.

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