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Wind industry grants should build jobs and green energy

September 1st, 2009

From Green Right Now Reports

The job market has been blowing in a positive direction when it comes to wind energy, with power companies building turbines, hiring technicians and pushing grid improvements to reach more consumers.

In 2008, wind energy created 35,000 jobs and accounted for 42 percent of new energy production installed in that year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). That burst was part of an upward trajectory begun a few years before.

But after  the economic implosion of late 2008, the picture didn’t look so bright. By 2009 even wind development took a hit from negative gusts in the economy. The downturn idled some wind projects, among other green programs, all vulnerable because of their dependence on investment capital.

Today, though, the AWEA is again reporting positive news, saying that prospects for wind projects are better because the federal government has begun issuing renewable energy grants. The grants replace tax credits which weren’t working in a stationary economy to get the blades spinning.

The US grants will provide nearly $500 million to 10 wind projects in Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.

“For these grantees and many other projects that are preparing their applications, we are seeing business activity picking up and turbine and parts orders being sent all the way up the value chain,” said AWEA Senior Vice President for Public Policy Rob Gramlich.

“That activity had all but dried up and it is very encouraging to see this turnaround underway.  Time will tell if that market signal is strong enough to keep the 85,000 people (the total employed) working in the wind industry employed for the next couple of years.”

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