July 23, 2020

 

Building a Stronger America With Clean Energy Opportunities

The economics of a clean energy future are a no-brainer, it’s time for the politics to catch up

RealClearEnergy

By Heather Reams

 

The American economy has faced unprecedented disruption this year, but for our clean energy and energy efficiency industries, the blow has been devastating.

 

As geopolitical and domestic tensions have risen, global energy demand has fallen, and this once humming economic machine of energy production, storage, and transmission has experienced crippling aftershocks across the United States.

 

It’s not just traditional forms of energy that have been impacted. Clean energy industries, including renewables, energy efficiency and emerging technologies like energy storage, have been hit particularly hard. In fact, since March more than 620,000 of the nation’s clean energy workers have lost their jobs, according to a recent U.S. Department of Labor analysis.

 

Nonetheless, disruption can also present opportunities to reassess our priorities within the broader economy, leverage resources that have not yet reached their full potential, and drive new growth.

 

Heading into the first quarter of 2020, clean energy was booming in the United States. The industry was coming off a remarkably transformative decade in which renewable energy was creating jobs at a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. The clean energy sector had grown to a workforce of 3.3 million U.S. workers employed in all but two of America’s 3,007 counties.

 

Fortunately, the shape of that massive economic footprint is indelible. The clean energy sectors that have been pounded, the projects that have been abandoned or interrupted, and the jobs that have been lost can almost all be recovered. We can rebuild the economy better and faster with clean energy leading the way forward. Lawmakers know this to be true, which is why the next round of stimulus legislation is expected to address energy innovation and infrastructure.

 

Equally important, doubling down on clean energy offers a chance for Americans to finally unite behind something in this very divisive election year. Citizens of every political stripe support the idea of investing in clean energy development to protect the environment, create jobs and strengthen national security – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. And to nearly a voter, America wants to reach this clean energy future through measured, common-sense policymaking that “leans in” to the strength of America’s unfettered innovation base – while also supporting a strong and healthy economy.

 

Public Opinion Strategies conducted an online survey in June of over 1,000 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents nationwide. Among the results, the study found that two-thirds (67 percent) of conservative-minded voters agreed that making investments in clean energy is important to our nation’s effort to rebuild the economy after the coronavirus shutdown. Even more Republicans (70 percent) agreed that accelerating the growth of clean energy in the United States can help the U.S. become a world leader in the competition for green economic development.

 

Without a doubt, there is a dynamic space for clean energy industries right now, and there is also a rare consensus of bipartisan voices surrounding it. In fact, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) recently put forth a resolution designating September 21 – 25, 2020, as “National Clean Energy Week,” and U.S. Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) and Alan Lowenthal (R-CA) introduced an identical resolution in the House.

 

Now in its fourth year, National Clean Energy Week (NCEW) events have convened policymakers, advocates, and private sector leaders in Washington, D.C., to break barriers and elevate the value of clean energy across our nation. This year is particularly special because the event will be virtual — allowing these impactful discussions to be heard by folks outside the Beltway. Bringing the clean energy message into every living room and home office, NCEW organizers have reinvented the occasion and created an opportunity to reach more Americans than ever before. This is critically important because the more informed citizens are, the more likely their leaders will take notice and continue fostering bipartisan cooperation around the issue.

 

When it comes to preserving our environment and jumpstarting the economy, we need to pursue every innovation, and that’s what National Clean Energy Week is all about. While tremendously challenging, this new economic climate presents an opportunity to stimulate growth by investing in clean energy, pursuing fiscally responsible investments in infrastructure, and reducing barriers to the execution and completion of clean energy projects that will get Americans working again. Our many policy experts participating in the events will be discussing these issues, and we invite you to join us in September at www.nationalcleanenergyweek.org.

 

 

Republicans and Democrats come together for National Clean Energy Week
September 23, 2019

September 23, 2019, Yale Climate Connections

Listen to Audio Here.

These days, bipartisan collaboration sometimes seems impossible. But during National Clean Energy Week, Republicans and Democrats come together for meetings in Washington, D.C., and workshops across the country.

“National Clean Energy Week was started really as a place for both sides of the aisle to really get out of the politics and talk more about what are the solutions,” says event chair Heather Reams, executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions.

She says attendees range from policymakers and industry groups to consumers, and their interests are diverse. Some are seeking business opportunities. Others are passionate about solving climate change. Some work in solar, and others in wind.

“It really allows a lot of people to get out of their silos and come together to solve problems together,” she says.

Reams says last year, it was rewarding to see people collaborate regardless of their politics.

“You couldn’t tell, really, who was a Republican and who was a Democrat on stage and in most of the presentations. Instead of that ‘red or blue’ issue, it really was a red, white, and blue issue for America,” she says. “The fact that we came together to discuss challenges and determine solutions, that we can continue a dialogue beyond National Clean Energy Week, is really exciting.”

Reporting credit: Ariel Felton/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Editor’s note: This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

Georgia pushes to expand clean energy
September 22, 2019

September 22, 2019, Valdosta Daily Times

As we celebrate Clean Energy Week, we should also celebrate the strides Georgia is making in improving the lives of Georgians through a more diversified energy portfolio and the expansion of clean and renewable energy.

Much of the credit goes to Public Service Commission Chairman Bubba McDonald, Vice-Chairman Tim Echols and Commissioner Chuck Eaton. They set the table several years ago by expanding solar in Georgia.

In July of this year, Commissioner Tricia Pridemore and I joined them and we unanimously voted to increase renewable energy by more than 30 percent than ever before. Their leadership in expanding clean energy supply has led to lower rates for consumers, and the cost of solar has plummeted from around 17 cents per kilowatt to around three cents per kilowatt.

Our unanimous vote on Georgia’s Integrated Resource Plan will bring over 2,260 megawatts of renewable and clean energy into our state over the next few years. We voted to increase utility solar, distributive generation solar and added biomass energy for the first time. We also raised the behind the meter size limit from 250 kilovolts to 500 kilovolts. The continued diversification of Georgia’s energy profile will lower costs for consumers while adding jobs to our economy.

As rural Georgia is recovering from the impact of two natural disasters and economic uncertainty, renewable energy can be a source of financial relief. It has recently been reported in several areas that solar farms have saved family farms in Georgia by signing long-term contracts, some as long as 35 years.

A family rents a portion of their property for solar farming and the extra income enables them to finance their other agricultural operations on the rest of their property. The economic impact of solar farms has also helped local county governments survive through rough times. In some counties, solar farms have become the largest taxpayer and have even paid for public facilities such as fire and police stations.

I am very proud we voted to include biomass energy in the IRP for the first time. Renewable biomass energy has become an economic engine and is homegrown in my district. Our abundance of agricultural byproduct has translated into a booming biofuel industry. Companies like Georgia Biomass have made us the largest exporter of biomass energy in the world with Europe being our primary market.

Clean and renewable energy has become important to our economy and our quality of life. Georgia is the number one renewable energy state in the country without renewable portfolio standards. We have done it through our tremendous utility partners, policy advocates and the tireless work of the Georgia Public Service Commission staff.

Gov. Kemp has proclaimed the week of September 23-27, as Clean Energy Week in Georgia. I want to join him in recognizing the 76,000 Georgians working in clean energy industries. This week is a tribute to your work in creating a clean energy environment in Georgia that is lowering prices and improving our lives.

Jason Shaw is a statewide public official serving as a commissioner on the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Utah celebrates successes for Clean Energy Week
September 20, 2019

By Laura Nelson and Scott Baird | Special to The Tribune | The Salt Lake Tribune | September 20, 2019

Across more than a century of statehood, Utah’s pioneering spirit has forged trailblazing pathways to achieve its remarkable destiny – defying expectations to meet new challenges that come with positive economic growth, a changing climate and an unparalleled energy demand. As we join the nation in celebrating Clean Energy Week, Utah’s leadership continues to be nationally unmatched in driving outcomes across policy, development and innovation to increasingly satisfy consumers’ growing appetite for energy that creates jobs and strengthens security and affordability, while preserving the environment and protecting our air.

Utah’s long-standing, “all-of-the-above,” market-based policy, when coupled with our statewide commitment to identifying solutions across resources, has allowed us to transform our energy economy. For instance, in the last five years, Utah’s renewable energy scene has surged by 150 percent, supporting 6,000 jobs and skyrocketing our state into the top 10 for solar, third for geothermal, not to mention increasing wind, biomass, hydro and energy storage resources.

Additionally, energy efficiency now plays a critical role in our solutions, providing some 30,000 jobs, as we realize net zero communities across the Wasatch Front. Utah is also a lead for advanced technology on carbon capture, and infrastructure that supports advanced, clean solutions for abundant fossil and nuclear resources.

Wise policy, responsible development and innovation has allowed Utah to cut its carbon emissions by 15 percent in the past decade, and we are continuing to realize improvements to reduce other emissions impacting our airshed — even in the face of rapid population growth. Consider that from 2002 to 2014 Utah’s population increased by 600,000 (26%). During that same time, statewide emissions of criteria pollutants declined by 30% — a 46% reduction in per-capita emissions. The entire state now meets federal air quality standards for PM2.5 particulate pollution. And the trend for energy and environmental advancement is expected to continue.

Last year, Gov. Gary Herbert and our Legislature made national headlines when we enacted House Concurrent Resolution 7. The resolution made a bold claim that Utah could reduce carbon emissions with renewable energy in a way that would grow the local economy. The bill calls on Utah to “prioritize our understanding and use of sound science to address causes of a changing climate and support innovation and environmental stewardship in order to realize positive solutions.”

The 2019 legislative session also saw the advancement of significant targets for budgeted air quality investment, with Utah lawmakers appropriating $29 million aimed at improving our air shed. Targeted strategies and programs included an exchange program to replace wood-burning stoves with gas or electric ones, installation of electrical vehicle charging stations, free mass transit on poor air quality days, promoting telecommuting, encouraging Utah’s refineries to produce cleaner-burning Tier 3 fuels and defined research initiatives.

This week represents the culmination of more than a year of defining a unified vision for the future of energy in our state: Herbert has proclaimed this week “National Clean Energy Week” in Utah, one of the first states in the nation to do so, and the Salt Palace is hosting the 19,000 attendee Solar Power International Conference to bring together the people, products, and professional development opportunities that can drive the industry and forge its bright future.

We can have affordable energy and, yes, we can have a clean environment. Along with all of you, Herbert, the Utah Legislature, the Governor’s Office of Energy Development and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality are committed to realizing the results for a robust energy and environmental future.

Laura Nelson is energy adviser and executive director of the Governor’s Office of Energy and Development.

Scott Baird is executive director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Gov. McMaster recognizing Clean Energy Week in SC
September 18, 2019

Gov. McMaster recognizing Clean Energy Week in SC

Matt Dillane

September 18th 2019

 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is celebrating his state’s efforts to be a little greener.

 

On Wednesday, it was announced that the governor issued a state proclamation to recognize September 23-27 as “South Carolina Clean Energy Week.”

 

In the proclamation, Gov. McMaster said that, since 2015, “clean energy businesses increased 79 percent, jobs grew by 110 percent, and revenues were up 41 percent,” citing data from the 2016 South Carolina Clean Energy Industry Census compiled by the South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance.

 

18 states across the country are formally recognizing National Clean Energy Week 2019.

 

Gov. McMaster said he encouraged all South Carolinians “to support commonsense solutions that address our economic and energy needs in the 21st Century.”

 

Gov Noem recognizes National Clean Energy Week
September 18, 2019

Gov Noem recognizes National Clean Energy Week
Capital Journal
September 17, 2019

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has issued a state proclamation recognizing September 23-27, 2019 as National Clean Energy Week in her home state.

In the proclamation, Gov. Noem notes that in South Dakota “70 percent of electricity generated in the state came from renewable sources, 46 percent from hydroelectric power, and 24 percent from wind energy.”

South Dakota is now one of 17 states in the country to formally recognize National Clean Energy Week 2019. In 2018, a total of 29 governors, both Republican and Democratic, issued state proclamations declaring September 24-28, 2018 as National Clean Energy Week.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott recognizes National Clean Energy Week
September 17, 2019

Vermont Governor Phil Scott recognizes National Clean Energy Week

MyChamplainValley.com
Glen Cassie

September 16, 2019

Vermont Governor Phil Scott has issued a state proclamation recognizing September 23-27, 2019 as Clean Energy Week in his home state.

In the proclamation, Gov. Scott notes that Vermont’s “growing energy economy has created jobs while reducing consumer demand for high-cost, high-carbon “peak energy” by creating and supporting clean, renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency.”

Vermont is now one of 16 states in the country to formally recognize National Clean Energy Week 2019. In 2018, a total of 29 governors, both Republican and Democratic, issued state proclamations declaring September 24-28, 2018 as National Clean Energy Week.

A Century of Partnership with the American Entrepreneur
September 12, 2019

BY FRANK MACCHIAROLA

So it is only logical that API is a proud sponsor of National Clean Energy Week because, as our nation continues to seek clean energy solutions, our industry is once again playing a leading role. We are researching cutting-edge technologies and have invested nearly $356 billion since 1990 to enhance the environmental performance of our products, facilities and operations. We are delivering the breakthroughs that are driving progress in clean energy.

By the end of this year, the United States is also projected to become the third-largest liquefied natural gas exporter in the world. Supported by record-breaking domestic natural gas production, LNG exports are advancing clean energy goals around the world, while also supporting American jobs and the economy.

The steady and regular deployment of natural gas resources has become the unsung hero of the global clean energy economy — and our organization is supporting this transition, which we’re discussing today at an event we’re co-sponsoring with LNG Allies and the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, “The Role of U.S. LNG in Addressing Global Challenges.” Speakers including Dr. Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, will discuss how U.S. LNG helps to improve global conditions and lift people out of poverty, meet global environmental goals and create greater global security.

The energy industry is also spearheading carbon capture technology. By taking carbon emissions and pumping them back into wells to store and enhance oil recovery, operators are illustrating the new reality of our energy economy — reducing carbon emissions and producing more energy are no longer mutually exclusive.

By taking action on initiatives such as The Environmental Partnership, our industry is reducing emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds. This industry-led, voluntary program streamlines leak detection and infrastructure repairs and serves as a model for how industry innovation can lead the way in developing clean energy solutions.

In transportation, the refining industry has removed 90 percent of sulfur from gasoline and implemented an ultra-low sulfur diesel standard across the country. When used in modern vehicles, this has reduced emissions by more than 99 percent since the 1970s, and our energy leadership does not end at our borders. In preparation for the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 sulfur standards rule, we are providing the marine sector with cleaner fuels, which will reduce shipping emissions by nearly 80 percent.

We recognize that the energy future is not a zero-sum game. By partnering with other industries, we can bolster private investment in the new technologies that advance our collective economic and environmental goals.

As our industry continues to meet the dual challenge of economic growth and environmental progress, we will continue to champion innovations, best practices and technologies that contribute to America’s clean energy goals. The natural gas and oil industry is passionate about promoting cleaner energy and a better environment and is proud to be a part of a modern energy mix now and for years to come.

 

Frank Macchiarola currently serves as the American Petroleum Institute’s vice president of downstream and industry operations.

Morning Consult welcomes op-ed submissions on policy, politics and business strategy in our coverage areas. Updated submission guidelines can be found here.

Clean Energy a Win for America’s Armed Forces, Veterans
September 2, 2019

By: Kelly Ayotte, Real Clear Politics

September 1st, 2019

This year, approximately 200,000 men and women will transition from active service in America’s armed forces to civilian life. While our nation owes each of them a debt of gratitude we can never fully repay, we must remain vigilant in the pursuit of policies that advance the next phase of their career and enhance the prosperity and security of the nation they served to defend. Few areas of public policy are more suited to accomplish these objectives than advancing the production of clean energy. And with Labor Day and National Clean Energy Week happening in September, there’s no better time to highlight these employment opportunities.

As a former member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, and chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, I can tell you that the U.S. military is the largest consumer of energy resources in the world. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines of all ranks are responsible for the operation of the energy systems that power the mission at home and abroad. This technical experience, combined with their leadership capacity and other critical skills, make veterans ideal for careers in the energy sector.

The 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) released this year, found that veterans hold 9% of all U.S. energy jobs today —a figure outpacing the national percentage of veterans in the workforce (6%). In addition to employment data, USEER also found that more than 75% of energy companies experience difficulty in hiring qualified employees. America’s veterans are uniquely situated to help fill this employment gap. However, as I recently discussed at the Atlantic Council’s Veterans Advanced Energy Summit, it must remain the focus of the federal government to bolster energy growth. Not only is it a job creator, but it will also transform the operability of our armed forces.

Further, the connection between clean energy, climate change and America’s security could not be clearer. A 2019 report from President Trump’s Department of Defense, statements by Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and the pleas of retired U.S. military officers have all drawn attention to the consequences of climate change, including the destabilizing effects of storms, droughts, and floods on vital defense infrastructure at home and abroad.

Domestically, the effects of climate change present a challenge for disaster-response capabilities and installations across every branch of our military. Internationally, climate change may exacerbate humanitarian disasters, contribute to political violence and undermine weak governments. To take this a step further, our ability to acquire, store and transport energy greatly impacts where we deploy personnel and assets, why we are there, what resources we have and how we use them.

Streamlining clean energy job opportunities and production, improving storage capacity and addressing climate change are major challenges that no one party can solve alone. That’s why I’m encouraged that more Republicans than ever before are engaged in offering concrete energy policy solutions in Congress. For example, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has announced a New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy. The five-year, 10-point proposal calls for harnessing the power of U.S. research and technology to put our country and the world firmly on a path toward cleaner, cheaper energy. It also would go a long way toward improving battery storage capacity, bolstering job creation and advancing carbon capture and electric vehicle technologies.

Sens. John Cornyn, R-Tex., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., have also introduced the Launching Energy Advancement and Development Through Innovations for Natural Gas Act, which will drive innovation in carbon capture technologies and make cleaner-burning natural gas even more efficient.

The role of energy sources as they affect national security and provide good-paying jobs stands at the forefront of a national debate that will be featured prominently during National Clean Energy Week later this month (Sept. 23-27). Constructing a more modern energy system that makes use of our plentiful renewable resources, American ingenuity and the power of the free market is key to both our job security at home and national security abroad. The federal government can continue to take the lead in promoting clean energy development. America’s men and women in uniform and their brothers and sisters who are returning heroes deserve nothing less.

Bilirakis Tours Waste-To-Energy Facility
August 30, 2019

Tampa Bay Reporter

August 18, 2019

HUDSON – With clean energy week just around the corner, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, toured a facility that turns solid waste into energy.

Bilirakis was accompanied by Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano during the tour of the Hudson site of Covanta, a worldwide company that creates energy from waste. The facility processes up to 1,050 tons per day of solid waste, generating 31.2 megawatts of renewable energy.

“One of the most important issues facing the international community is how to grapple with the anticipated increase in demand for energy stemming from population growth and economic expansion within the global economy resulting, in part, from rapid urbanization,” Bilirakis said.

“This challenge is further complicated when we factor in the need to achieve it in a manner that provides greater environmental protection and cleaner air through emission reductions. As Florida emerges as a nation leader in clean energy, it’s great to visit renewable energy facilities in my district and learn about the ways that our state can diversify our energy sources.

“I’m thrilled to be taking part in the clean energy movement and I’m glad to be joined by local leaders, while we learn more about renewable energy sources.”

Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

For information about Bilirakis, go to bilirakis.house.gov.

New Hampshire Media Highlights Governor Sununu’s Clean Energy Week Proclamation
August 26, 2019

August 26, 2019 — In case you missed it, media outlets across New Hampshire and New England today highlighted Governor Christopher Sununu’s state proclamation recognizing September 23-27, 2019 as New Hampshire Clean Energy Week.

Concord Monitor

Sununu recognizing Clean Energy Week next month

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has signed a proclamation recognizing Clean Energy Week next month, the fourth state in the country to do so. The week runs from Sept. 23-27. In his proclamation, Sununu says the state has taken proactive steps to grow renewable energy sources and energy efficient technologies. Read more here.

WCAX-TV 

Governor Sununu Signs New Hampshire Clean Energy Week Proclamation 

Watch the full clip here

WPTZ-TV

Governor Sununu Recognizes New Hampshire Clean Energy Week

Watch the full clip here

WBTS-TV

Governor Sununu Signs New Hampshire Clean Energy Week Proclamation

Watch the full clip here

New Hampshire is now the fourth state in the country to formally recognize National Clean Energy Week 2019. Recently, Iowa Governor Kim ReynoldsAlabama Governor Kay Ivey and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed proclamations supporting NCEW in their home states.

   

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Gaesser Opinion: Wind is powering a rural renaissance
August 18, 2019

By: Ray Gaesser, The Hawkeye

August 18, 2019

More than simply securing a cleaner energy future — as if that weren’t enough — wind power is creating jobs, uplifting local economies, and supporting communities nationwide; most notably in rural parts of our country.

In fact, the production of wind energy has been and will continue to be a boon for rural America, providing financial incentives for family farms, broadening tax bases to support stronger communities, and creating jobs for hardworking Americans.

The potential for wind energy to transform communities and the American economy continues to grow nationwide. The American Wind Energy Association reported an 8-percent uptick in wind power capacity in 2018 representing more than $12 billion in private investments. Since 2010, the United States has more than doubled its wind power capacity. There is now enough installed wind capacity to power over 30 million U.S. homes with this clean, renewable energy source.

Last year, the U.S. wind industry supported more than 114,000 jobs across all 50 states and Puerto Rico as well as more than 500 domestic factories, generating more than $1 billion in revenue for states and communities in which wind farms are located. While a lot of people may hear about wind power and think of California coastlines or Atlantic deep water wind, the fact remains more than 99 percent of wind power is generated in rural parts of the country.

In fact, wind energy is now responsible for delivering more than 20 percent of the electricity produced in Kansas, Maine, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and here in Iowa — states with large rural populations. In these states, as in remote communities across the nation, wind power is providing economic benefits that help revive and reinvigorate small towns while providing America’s farmers and ranchers new economic opportunities to help keep them afloat in the face of new challenges and hardships in the agricultural community.

More than two million farms populate rural America, with 99 percent being family-owned and operated. Increasingly, more and more of these farms are choosing to get involved with the wind industry, renting out small portions of their land to generate electricity through wind turbines. The average wind farm installation leaves 98 percent of land undisturbed, so farmers can continue harvesting crops and maintaining their normal routines while taking in a new source of passive income.

The extra income from these projects provides an additional layer of economic security and stability for America’s farmers. On average, a single wind turbine lease can net landowners up to $8,000 per year. Altogether, America’s farmers and ranchers make more than a quarter of a billion dollars off of wind turbine lease payments — that figure reached $289 million in 2018 alone. In these uncertain times of tariffs and trade wars, this income is particularly important because it helps ensure multi-generational family farms can remain operational through the toughest of circumstances.

Moreover, the revenue from wind projects helps strengthen remote communities and support vital services on which we all rely. Local schools and school districts are among the biggest benefactors of the tax revenue generated by wind energy development. Wind projects help to significantly expand local tax bases, providing funding that enables small-town school districts to provide big-city educations for their students by investing in new equipment, computers and other opportunities that may otherwise be out of reach.

Increased tax revenue from wind energy projects also allows small, rural towns to invest in infrastructure improvement; fund police, firefighters, and other emergency first responders, and keep taxes as low as possible.

Most importantly, wind energy is powering job creation for rural America. Along with the solar installers, wind turbine technician roles are projected to be one of the fastest-growing jobs in America between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most notably, the wind industry has proven to be of particular benefit to our nation’s veterans, many of whom struggle to find employment in the private sector after leaving active duty. The U.S. wind industry employs veterans at a rate 67 percent higher than the national average, providing invaluable opportunities for employment for the men and women who have served our nation so bravely.

With American Wind Week last week and the upcoming National Clean Energy Week (September 23-27), it is important we understand the benefits wind power provides for Americans — but particularly for rural America. Wind projects have and will continue to provide a valuable lifeline for rural towns and communities here in Iowa and across the country. With continued investment and development, there is no limit to how far wind energy can take us.

Ray Gaesser serves as Board Chair of the Iowa Conservative Energy Forum and resides in Corning. He has 51 years of farming experience and has advocated locally, nationally and globally for Iowa and U.S. Agriculture as the former President of the American Soybean Association and the Iowa Soybean Association.