Statement by AWEA interim CEO Rob Gramlich on President Obama’s State of the Union speech12 February 2013
"Wind power became the number one source of new US electric generating capacity in 2012. Tonight, President Obama called on Congress to strengthen the stewardship we all share for our environment, and put more Americans to work in clean energy jobs and manufacturing.
"President Obama sets a goal tonight 'to once again double generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources by 2020'. The president has called on Congress to make the renewable energy Production Tax Credit permanent and refundable, as part of comprehensive corporate tax reform, providing incentives and certainty for investments in new clean energy.
"We are proud to be recognised for producing nearly half of the nation's new electric capacity last year, creating tens of thousands of jobs, and as a central climate solution.
"Wind power is one of the most beneficial and cost-effective greenhouse gas-mitigation technologies available to our nation. With over 60GW of wind power-generating capacity now installed in America, wind energy will avoid nearly 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions this year, equal to 1.8% of the entire country's total carbon emissions.
"We're inspired too, by stories like that of Lee Maxwell, a commissioning technician at Acciona Energy, who was invited to the Capitol to watch the State of the Union address from the first lady's box. He's a 2012 graduate of the wind turbine technician programme at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he earned 26 separate certifications in everything from reading blueprints to driving forklifts. Iowa gets 20% of its electricity from wind energy, thanks to dedicated workers like Lee, who now travels the country turning on new wind turbines.
"Utility-scale wind power was invented here, and increasingly the parts are made in the US. Domestic content in the US industry is up to nearly 70%, from 25% just a few years ago. That has created 30,000 American jobs in wind manufacturing, and further brought down the cost of wind energy now that we're making most of the parts right here in the US.
"Policy-makers all over should be recognising the opportunity and supporting the growth of clean energy in their own states, such as through robust state Renewable Portfolio Standards.
"Because the Administration and Congress wisely extended the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) at the start of the year, tens of thousands of workers in US wind manufacturing facilities can get back to building wind projects and wind turbines. Private investors put $25bn into the US economy in 2012 and got the signal from the PTC/ITC extensions that the US is still open for clean energy business. This is what successful policy looks like.
"America's homegrown wind energy industry is ready to work with President Obama and the US Congress to advance the goals of energy independence and clean, renewable power that is available and affordable for all Americans."