A partnership to make the U.S. a leader in wind energy
Posted by scapozzola on 06/10/2010
The United Steelworkers Union (USW) and the American Wind Energy Association (which represents companies in the wind energy sector) have joined together to create a "Partnership for Progress" that will accelerate the development and deployment of wind energy manufacturing in the U.S. Recognizing that wind energy is "vital to this nation’s energy security," the partnership wants to maximize the "utilization of domestically-produced materials" for clean energy projects in the U.S. At a noon press conference today, USW President Leo Gerard, AWEA CEO Denise Bode, and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) all agreed on the urgent need to ramp-up U.S. wind energy production. As Gerard pointed out, "It would be just as bad if we had to rely on foreign suppy chains for renewable energy as our dependence on foreign oil. We need to establish a domestic supply chain." AWEA's Denise Bose said the the U.S. is "perfectly positioned to capture the wind market." She added that it's "important to build your wind farms near where your manufacturing base is. We need to move quickly on renewable energy." According to Bode, the U.S. has 241 current wind facilities, with 100 more planned facilities. She believes wind is one of the "most promising" areas for renewable energy. Sen. Brown said that "wind and solar are where we are going in this country to create jobs and to wean ourselves off foreign oil." He added that Americans want to see their tax dollars used to purchase U.S.-made wind components. He views the expansion of U.S. wind production as one key approach to "help lift America's manufacturing base." Some key components of the partnership are:
- Commitment to work cooperatively to advance a comprehensive public policy agenda that will create the long-term certainty needed to dramatically expand the deployment of wind energy across the country and enhance the ability of OEM’s and component manufacturers with domestic operations to meet the growing needs of the industry;
- Commitment to aggressive development and utilization of OEM’s and suppliers with domestic operations to ensure energy and employment security. Results-oriented targets will be agreed upon to ensure that existing and new sources of supply located here grow, over time, to further enhance our nation’s energy security and assist in our nation’s economic recovery.
- Commitment to the establishment of an inventory of existing sources of supply and joint identification of opportunities to promote new sources of supply located domestically to address gaps in the supply chain. Periodic assessments to measure the success of the Partnership will be conducted to ensure that jointly developed goals are being achieved.
- Commitment to jointly develop training programs to ensure that workers needed in the industry have the skills necessary to meet the growing needs of the entire sector – from wind energy production to the domestic manufacturing base needed to supply the industry. This will also include joint efforts to ensure that suppliers have the capacity as well as the standards of excellence needed to meet the sector’s needs.
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