Ted Turner Calls for End of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

During the first full day of the Windpower 2011 conference and expo, it was clear that the wind industry is raring to go. CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Denise Bode, who rode into the keynote on a custom chopper made expressly to showcase wind power, enthusiastically ticked off the industry’s achievements so far such as creating jobs, creating vibrant economic development and contributing to the development of a renewable portfolio standard in 29 states plus DC. 

She also unveiled the WindMade label, a new label that will be placed on consumer products that are manufactured with wind energy. Much like the “USDA Organic” label and other consumer labels of the past, WindMade is intended to help consumers see and understand how energy goes into products they purchase regularly.

One highlight of the keynote was the unscripted, no-holds-barred conversation between Bode and Ted Turner, founder of CNN.  Turner is a passionate supporter of wind and solar energy and thinks the U.S. ought to be much further along in clean energy development.  “It’s the seventh inning and we’re down by 2 runs,” he said.  “We need to get on with it.  Start doing the right things and stop doing the wrong things.”

Turner said that fossil fuel subsidies are wrong and should be phased out.  The government should have an energy policy that seeks to transition the U.S. away from all forms of fossil energy, a transition that he views as the greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced. If Obama had only brought up energy before the new health plan, Turner said, we would already have an energy policy. The momentum was there but it became too complicated and too bipartisan after health care came on the agenda. Turner thinks the wind industry ought to just go back to Washington and try again.

“One of the reason’s I’ve been successful in my life is that I don’t quit,” he told Bode. “I’m not quitting. They are wrong,” Turner said.  

He would like to see the renewable energy industry raise a little more money and go back to Washington to make some real changes in policy.  “Let’s go kick their assess,” he said. He also told Bode that when she calls him for support in DC, he’ll be there “and I won’t charge you a nickel for it.”

“I want to live to see the country powered by wind and solar,” Turner said.



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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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