When wind talks, people listen. The industry has New Energy’s most installed megawatts, biggest valuation and most mature technology and is, therefore, the New Energy sector’s leading public voice. As the second-biggest builder of new U.S. electricity generation capacity for 4 years running and a provider of 85,000 jobs (more than coal mining), the wind industry speaks with authority.
It is therefore worth noting that the wind industry welcomed Great Expectations; U.S. Wind Energy Development, a new paper from Republican and Democratic Governors from 29 states, calling for political leaders in Washington, D.C., to take action on their list of 6 national policy priorities and infrastructure needs. It is also worth noting that Governors from BOTH parties and MORE THAN HALF the nation’s states signed on to what was essentially a wind industry wish list.
What it comes down to is this: What wind wants is what the states want for wind because there is wind and/or wind jobs in every states and when the wind industry comes to a state it brings good-paying jobs with benefits, tax revenues and a chain of economic benefits that lead to across-the-spectrum growth. ::continue::
The bipartisan Governors Wind Energy Coalition, is calling on Congress and the Obama administration to:
(1) Adopt a National Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring the nation’s regulated utilities to obtain a significant portion of their power from New Energy sources by a specific date.
(2) Develop adequate new interstate transmission system infrastructure to provide access for onshore and offshore wind and other New Energy resources.
(3) Fully support coastal, deep water, and offshore wind technology and transmission research and development (R&D).
(4) Streamline permitting processes for offshore and onshore wind projects.
(5) Expand the U.S. Department of Energy effort at the state level to accelerate wind technology innovation.
(6) Extend the Treasury Department grants made available as a substitute for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and adopt a long-term Production Tax Credit (PTC) and make it available to a bigger pool of investors.
There is no doubt that the newest and most eye-catching items on the Governors’ list of priorities are the emphases on expanding opportunities to offshore wind. Like the first skyrocket that goes up into the July 4th night sky, there can be no more clear signal that the show – in this case the offshore wind energy development show – is ready to begin.
If the nation’s political leaders can find their way through the partisan morass in which they are now lost and approve the 6 measures on wind’s wish list, as submitted by this imprssively long and diverse bipartisan list of Governors, the U.S. will much sooner be richer in revenues and domestic jobs, relieved from dependence on imported and environmentally devastating fossil fuels and on the way to renewed international economic competitiveness.
By coincidence, it will allow wind and the other New Energies to kick-start the turn-around of global climate change in the process.
Less than a footnote: Curiously absent from the list of signatory Governors is the leader of the wind industry’s leading state, secessionist Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry. Is that another “no,” Governor?
This post is based on Great Expectations; U.S. Wind Energy Development (March 2010, Governors Wind Energy Coalition)