Wind Power Creates Good American Green Jobs

Two of the hot topics at the WINDPOWER 2011 conference are economic development and green job creation.

Organized by the AWEA and kicked off yesterday with a speech by Ted Turner, the legendary founder of CNN and now a clean energy investor, the WINDPOWER 2011 conference is the world's largest wind energy event, bringing thousands of wind industry experts.

The trend is positive: more and more wind turbine components are US-made, reaching 50% of the 8,000 components it takes to assemble a wind turbine. The Bush-era policy which dictates that 20% of our electricity be produced by wind by 2030 is working. Very clearly, the policy creates good American manufacturing jobs. It shows that good policy works, and we need it now more than ever to put Americans back to work.

According to the AWEA, the wind power industry today employs 75,000, and over 400 manufacturing facilities in 43 states make wind-power related parts. 14 plants were added in 2010 alone, and the trend is growing.

Both American and foreign manufacturers are increasing their US production capacity. Vestas, a Danish company and the world's leading wind turbine manufacturer, recently decided to invest $1 billion in new plants and equipment in Colorado.

Not surprisingly, California leads the way in both manufacturing and wind power production. In addition to 15 manufacturing wind-related plants, California employs 4,000 to 5,000 workers at wind farms that produce a total of 3,177 megawatts of electricity (3% to 5% of California's energy needs).

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