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White House energy advisor Heather Zichal to join prominent energy policymakers at WINDPOWER, June 3-6 in Atlanta

White House energy advisor Heather Zichal to join prominent energy policymakers at WINDPOWER, June 3-6 in Atlanta

Speeches, press availabilities to feature bipartisan group
including Govs. Brownback and Beebe, and Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs

As the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) finalizes preparations for the largest annual gathering of the global wind industry, WINDPOWER 2012, June 3-6 in Atlanta, Ga., AWEA is proud to announce that Heather Zichal, President Obama's chief advisor on energy and environmental policy issues, will address attendees on Monday, June 4.

Her attendance reflects mounting bipartisan support for extending the critical Production Tax Credit that has allowed U.S. wind power to install 35% of all new U.S. electric generating capacity; create one of the fastest-growing U.S. manufacturing sectors; invest $15 billion a year in the U.S. economy; and keep over 75,000 Americans working.

Zichal will speak as WINDPOWER kicks off next Monday, June 4, at 8:30 am with a General Session that includes:
–Longtime wind champion in the U.S. Senate and now in Topeka, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R)
–A leader in creating wind manufacturing jobs in the Southeast, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D)
–Leading President Obama's “to do list” — including passing the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC): Heather Zichal, President Obama's Deputy Assistant for Energy and Climate Change

A press conference with the governors and industry leaders will follow at 10:15 am in Room B203 of the Georgia World Congress Center. Credentialed media not on site will be able to participate via speakerphone. Please RSVP to Jay Shepley (jshepley@awea.org) for dial-in details.

WINDPOWER’s General Session on Tuesday, June 5, will highlight bipartisan support for wind and include:  
–Karl Rove, “The Architect” of President George W. Bush’s two successful presidential campaigns
–Robert Gibbs, longtime advisor and strategist to President Obama
–A panel of prominent industry leaders discussing wind's affordability, technological innovation and the state of the industry:
Jan Blittersdorf, NRG Systems
Denise Bode, AWEA
Tom Carnahan, Wind Rose Partners
Mark Albenze, Siemens Energy
David Flitterman, Gamesa
James King, BayernLB New York
Steve Lockard, TPI Composites

A second press availability with these wind industry leaders will follow the General Session at 10:30 am Tuesday in Room B203 of the Georgia World Congress Center.

Credentialed media who cannot attend either Monday or Tuesday's press availability in person are welcome to participate by phone. Please RSVP to Jay Shepley (jshepley@awea.org) for dial in details.

NOTE: Members of the news media can attend and cover WINDPOWER 2012 without charge, and can register here in advance.

BACKGROUND ON U.S. WIND POWER
AND THE PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT

American wind power
–    Using wind to generate utility-scale electricity was invented in America, and a vast U.S. resource of this clean, homegrown energy is still available to be tapped.
–    Technological innovation and domestic sourcing has helped drive down costs of electricity for utilities and consumers, since transportation alone can be 20% of the cost of installing a wind turbine.
–    Over 470 new American factories currently employ 30,000 workers in the wind energy supply chain from coast to coast. But orders for 2013 now hang on the tax credit’s extension.
–    Layoffs are beginning across the industry because of uncertainty over the Production Tax Credit, with 10,000 jobs expected to be lost by year’s end, and 37,000 job losses predicted within a year in a study by Navigant Consulting.
–    On the other hand, Navigant said that with predictable policies, wind could grow to 100,000 jobs by 2016. And, the U.S. Department of Energy said during the Bush administration that wind could support 500,000 jobs by 2030, and make 20% of America’s electricity.

The wind energy Production Tax Credit
–    American wind power's key federal incentive (the 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour Production Tax Credit, or PTC) only applies to projects that succeed in putting electricity on the grid. It will expire Dec. 31, 2012, unless Congress extends it.
–    The PTC has not been allowed to expire since 2005, when President George W. Bush signed it into law as part of the Energy Policy Act.
–    This successful policy over the past five years has incentivized $15.5 billion a year on average in private investment in the U.S.  U.S. domestic content has expanded from 25% to over 60% today. Wind has installed 35% of all U.S. electric generating capacity, a close second to natural gas.

Bipartisan support
–    Supporters in both parties have been raising this issue since late last year as an urgent action item for Congress, including the entire Iowa congressional delegation, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Steve King (R-IA), and Tom Latham (R-IA). Many have cosponsored HR 3307 or S 2201.
–    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, American Farm Bureau, and Edison Electric Institute are among over 400 organizations and companies endorsing the PTC extension.
–    A bipartisan coalition of 23 governors led by Gov. Terry Branstad (R-Iowa) supports extending the PTC. Gov. Branstad recently wrote The Wall Street Journal concerning its economic benefits.
–    Republican, Democratic and Independent voters broadly support wind power and its expansion.

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Peter Kelley leads AWEA's Public Affairs Department; provides strategic communications advice to the industry; and oversees media relations, publications, social media, and advocacy advertising. He previously was principal of RenewComm LLC, a PR firm for clean energy companies and nonprofits, and started his career as a newspaper reporter. He holds a bachelor’s in Government from Harvard University.

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