By Helmut Herold
February 21, 2017 at 5:00 am ET
President Donald Trump says he wants to put “America First.” He wants a stronger economy. He wants companies to operate within the United Sates and to contribute more to the country’s economic well-being. In particular, his administration has made the creation of new jobs a priority. How can he achieve these goals?
A dynamic, homegrown industry already generates these benefits: wind power. Wind power has created over 100,000 jobs and counting in the United States. It attracts billions of dollars in private investment, provides cheap, reliable energy, and powers rural economies as well as the industrial centers across the Great Lakes and midwestern United States.
Some observers have wondered how the new administration will view wind power. I think wind will help our leaders achieve their goals. Does this sound like a pipe dream? It is not.
More than 25,000 workers in more than 500 U.S. factories build wind-related parts and materials, and there are wind jobs across all 50 states. Wind turbine technician is the fastest-growing profession in the United States. More Americans now work in wind than in nuclear, coal, natural gas or hydroelectric power plants. For many of these workers, wind jobs offer a second chance after previous opportunities dried up.
“I was in the coal mining industry for 16 years. The coal market was on the decline. I was tired of the traveling from job to job — they were never close to home,” Donald Hostetler, one of our service technicians at Twin Ridges wind farm in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, told me. “I was also concerned about my health, breathing in all that coal dust. Then I started seeing all these wind turbines going up all around my area and I thought, ‘This is the future’. I wanted to be a part of it. I was lucky enough to get a job in the wind industry and I am proud to contribute to the production of clean energy.”
Seven out of 10 wind farms are in low-income counties, meaning their benefits are going right where they’re needed most. Wind energy has become ‘the new corn’ for America’s farmers and ranchers, and some have described it as a drought-proof cash crop.
“One turbine has changed my life,” Ed Woolsey, a fifth-generation Iowa farmer told Bloomberg. “Before, I raised corn and soybeans and cattle. Now I’m a wind farmer.”
“Growing this made-in-the-USA clean energy resource helps rural communities pay for new roads, bridges, and schools, while bringing back manufacturing jobs to the Rust Belt,” summarized AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan the key benefits of wind power recently.
Companies like ours believe in wind power and its strong local economic impact. We have seen the positive impact happen in other countries and we are witnessing it in the U.S. today. As part of our business model, we always strive to maximize the local benefits of wind energy.
We are also constantly improving our technology to make it more eco-sensitive and to lower the cost of energy generation. We want our wind turbines to be an asset for America’s communities. Our signature wind turbine for the North American market has an increased energy production and is extremely quiet.
Senvion is proud to call the United States home and is determined to expand and support America’s unstoppable and inevitable wind energy growth. The American wind energy sector is tremendously successful and is a strategic national asset. We at Senvion look forward to creating more well-paying jobs for workers like Donald Hostetler, and helping to build a future all Americans can be excited about.
Helmut Herold is the CEO of Senvion North America, a leading global wind turbine manufacturer and a pioneer in the offshore business owned by Centerbridge Partners, L.P., based in New York. Senvion has an installed capacity of over 1,200 MW in the United States, which includes hundreds of wind turbines across the Pacific Northwest, California, Alaska, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Minnesota.
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