United States

United States

US wind industry answers Schumer bill with lobbying for RES

US: The US wind industry is combining to press the government to pass strong renewable energy legislation and emphasise the sector's importance to the country's economy.

US wind industry attempts to head off calls for a stimulus moratorium by senator Chuck Schumer (pictured)
US wind industry attempts to head off calls for a stimulus moratorium by senator Chuck Schumer (pictured)

Recently the wind energy sector has come under the spotlight following the efforts of a group of Democratic senators, led by Chuck Schumer of New York, to introduce legislation ensuring renewables stimulus cash only goes to US manufacturers.

The Schumer bill was partly inspired by a recent study by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University which estimated 79% of the $2billion renewables stimulus went to foreign companies.

Around 120 representatives from US wind industry, which in addition to AWEA included representatives from Iberdrola, AES and GE Energy, are meeting with government officials this week to lobby for a strong Renewable Electricity Standard (RES).

The RES bill, introduced in February last year by U.S. Senator Tom Udall, requires utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2025.

"We need to drive demand in a stable, predictable way," said Vic Abate, vice president for renewables, GE Energy, the largest supplier of wind turbines in the U.S. market.  "For the jobs to grow the Renewable Electricity Standard is critical."
"There are three main points to make about the RES: jobs, jobs, and jobs," said John W. Grabner, president, Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Company, Inc. The US company makes steel bolts used in construction of wind turbines for many of the wind turbine manufacturers active in the U.S.

"Manufacturers are chomping at the bit to come to the U.S. and it would be a tragedy if this investment were to stop," said Donald Furman, senior  vice president, Iberdrola Renewables, based in Portland, Oregon. "The RES is the missing link."

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