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WindTV: Wind power drives commerce in small town America

WindTV: Wind power drives commerce in small town America

Latest video segment shows impact of a wind farm on local Utah tire shop

With employment opportunities hard to come by in Milford, Utah, a few years ago, Mike Mayer took matters into his own hands. He created his own job.

Opening up “Mike’s Tire and Oil” shop “basically on the flip of a coin” because the area’s economy was failing to provide adequate employment options, Mayer, a lifelong resident of the area, ended up getting a boost from a newcomer in town: wind power. The story of how First Wind’s Milford Wind project has impacted Mayer’s auto shop and other local businesses is the subject of the latest segment on WindTV, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) vehicle to highlight how wind works for America.

In the video, Mayer tells of how he grew up in an area that has experienced “some down times,” as he puts it, through the years. But as soon as the wind farm started going up, says Mayer, “It brought in a lot of new business, a lot of new money—not the same old dollar working itself to death.”

Mayer’s own business instantly saw an uptick, as did others in town, and that uptick has held steady ever since. “Talking with other business owners, they’ve seen the same increases that we’ve seen here—the hardware store, the movie rentals, the pizza place, all the restaurants—it’s been a good influx.”

America’s ability to build on that kind of economic spin-off, however, is in jeopardy. 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 any 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 projected by the U.S. Department of Energy in the George W. Bush administration.

“Wind power is a vital American economic engine, but, like any industry, it needs stable policy to keep running strong,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “The wind power industry is proud to be a positive force in places like Milford, Utah, and in the lives of Americans like Mike Mayer, but it can do so much more. All that stands in its way is unstable 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. Jobs like Mike Mayer’s are in jeopardy, while new jobs are hanging in the balance.”

Thanks to the Milford wind farm, wind power economics keep blowing strong for people like Mike Mayer, who looks forward to staying put in his hometown now that he has a business to sustain him.  “The more of this we get, the better all of us are,” he says of wind power. “We can stay here as families forever.”

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: 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
Fact check: Heritage errs in supporting job-killing tax hike, December 19, 2011
Fact check: Globalwarming.org ignores energy incentive history, December 19, 2011
Blogger sees PTC extension as 'no-brainer', December 15, 2011
Don't hit wind with job-killing tax hike, December 5, 2011
Fact check: Pompeo and Labrador miss mark with subsidy bill, December 1, 2011
Selective Use of Energy Subsidies is Unfair (letter to editor, Washington Times), November 30, 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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