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WindTV: Mr. Wind goes to Washington

WindTV: Mr. Wind goes to Washington

High school teacher and students share how wind power has impacted their town

Last week WindTV brought you the story of how wind power is pumping dollars into the local businesses of Milford, Utah. This week the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) video outlet follows a Milford high school teacher and some of his students to Washington, D.C., where they shared with Members of Congress that very same story, a story they could tell from a firsthand perspective.

Teacher and farmer Andy Swapp, who became interested in wind energy when he noticed good soil blowing into his barn on his farm and subsequently put up a meteorological tower to measure the wind resource, now teaches Utah’s only high school course in renewable energy. The “met” tower on his land drew the interest of developers, which eventually resulted in First Wind’s Milford project. “We’ve [i.e., he and his students] had something to do with every step of the development of our local wind farm, and even today we go out and sit in the maintenance shed, talk to the guys,” says Swapp. “We can go out here any time.”

The wind farm’s impact on the community has not gone unnoticed by anyone, even Milford’s kids. “[The developers] coming there to build that, the wind farm, really helped our community,” says student Nathan Durant, chatting on the video with the U.S. Capitol’s famous dome serving as a backdrop. “Our local economy has really boomed.”

Special thanks go to Swapp and his students for taking that message to Washington because it’s one Congress needs to hear. America’s ability to tap the economic power of wind is now in jeopardy because the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy is scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and already developers are freezing plans for new projects like First Wind’s Milford facility. By passing an extension of the PTC, Congress will save American jobs currently in danger of being shipped overseas and help the wind industry grow to almost 100,000 jobs four years from now and support 500,000 American jobs by 2030, as envisioned by the George W. Bush administration.

“The wind industry cannot thank people like Andy Swapp and his students enough for sharing the economic power of wind with their representatives in Washington,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “Americans want more wind energy. At a time when America is hungry for jobs, wind power can deliver. But it can’t do so without stable policy. Congress needs to extend the Production Tax Credit so that our companies can get to work and keep driving economic activity in rural America.” To express your support for the PTC, go to http://act.awea.org.

The video not only touches on the impact of wind power on the community of Milford but how the renewable energy source has enhanced the education of Swapp’s students. (“He’s one of the best teachers I’ve had,” says student Juan Madrigal.)

Perhaps Swapp best sums up the message he and his students so very much wanted to impress upon Members of Congress. “Wind power is valuable, it’s something good for our economy,” he says. “And in our opinion, if it’s good for Milford, Utah, it’s good for the United States.”

WindTV is a showcase of video profiles of Americans whose lives have been positively impacted by the wind energy industry. The site, located at www.awea.org/windtv, features a different video profile each week.

To hear more about how wind power has been a positive force in Milford, Utah, and how the clean, affordable, homegrown energy source is generating good jobs in America, go to WindTV.

Related articles:

WindTV: Wind power drives commerce in small-town America, January 24, 2012
WindTV: Construction jobs blowing in the wind, January 19, 2012
Denver Post endorses PTC extension 'sooner rather than later', January 18, 2012
WindTV: Solid, dependable jobs up in the air, January 12, 2012
Wind power contributes to improving manufacturing jobs picture, January 9, 2012
WSJ op-ed: 'Want Growth? Try Stable Tax Policy', January 5, 2012
Will Congress give gift of wind power jobs to Americans or foreign countries?, January 3, 2012
Don't hit wind with job-killing tax hike, December 5, 2011
Red State Energy, Red State Jobs, November 29, 2011
Governors' letter urges prompt extension of wind tax incentive, November 16, 2011
Wind power: Keeping America's lunch money at home, November 14, 2011
Clean energy: A bipartisan goal, November 9, 2011
Nonpartisan Congressional report underscores need for stable wind energy policy, October 3, 2011
Iowa Gov. Branstad cites wind jobs, current and future, September 14, 2011

 

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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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