FERC Chairman, Senators Awarded by AWEA

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has selected Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Patrick Wood III and Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Harry Reid (D-NV) as recipients of the Federal and Congressional Leadership Awards for 2002. The national trade association for the wind industry will honor the three for “providing leadership that benefits consumers, the electric industry, and the environment.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 5, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] “Too often, our leaders in Washington are blamed for things they have not done. AWEA would like to thank three national standouts Pat Wood, Jeff Bingaman and Harry Reid for things they have done,” said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. “Through their leadership in the national energy policy arena and their willingness to take action to open the way for new energy technologies, each of these exceptional individuals has contributed greatly to the further development of the wind industry in the United States.” FERC Chairman Patrick Wood III will be recognized for his leadership of the federal agency with responsibility for setting the rules for use and expansion of the nation’s electricity infrastructure. Under his guidance, FERC has developed transmission and reliability policies that treat wind and other renewables on an equal footing with other energy sources, thereby addressing many of the hurdles that have prevented development of large-scale wind projects. As chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas in the 1990s, Wood was instrumental in development of sensible regulations to implement that state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) bill that had been supported and signed into law by then-Governor George W. Bush in 1999. The Texas RPS, which requires utilities to use an increasing percentage of Renewable Energy over time, has been credited as the driving force behind that state’s recent boom in wind development. “I would like to thank the American Wind Energy Association for recognizing the hard work and dedication of my fellow commissioners and the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission who have worked so tirelessly on development of a national energy transmission system for the 21st century,” said Wood. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) will be recognized for his commitment to the development of a comprehensive national energy policy that facilitates the development of wind energy through supportive policies and programs. The energy bill that Bingaman shepherded through the Senate this spring contains a first-ever national renewable portfolio standard, as well as a provision extending the wind energy production tax credit an important factor in financing new wind power projects for five years and a small wind turbine investment tax credit to promote purchase of systems used to power a home or farm. “Wind energy is an important component of our national energy strategy and we must take steps to promote its development. I am pleased that the bill we passed in the Senate puts a much-needed emphasis on wind energy and I pledge to do everything I can to ensure that any bill we send to the President strongly supports this key renewable energy source,” Bingaman said. Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid (D-NV), the second highest-ranking Democratic leader in the Senate, will be honored for his long-standing support of the development of the wind industry in Nevada and across the United States. Reid supported the creation of a state RPS in Nevada and the development of the Nevada Test Site as a large-scale wind facility. In addition, Reid has been a strong national leader in gaining an extension of the wind energy production tax credit and securing Senate passage of a national renewable portfolio standard. Reid will accept the Congressional Leadership Award later this summer. “I am pleased to be counted as an advocate of clean, renewable, domestic energy sources like wind,” said Reid. “Nevada is blessed with an abundant wind resource that we are only beginning to tap as a source of clean, renewable energy, and I thank AWEA for recognizing our leadership in the development of America’s wind energy industry.”
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