Monday, September 6, 2010

Wind Power Coming Strong; Creating Jobs

While would-be congressional carpetbagger Morgan Griffith (right), who is running for the 9th District seat even though he doesn’t live in the 9th, bemoans Congressman Rick Boucher’s support of cap and trade legislation because it could cost jobs, alternative energy continues to create them.

My pal Diana Christopulos informs me that the U.S. Department of Energy has just issued a report that tells us wind power in 2009 generated 10 gigawatts of new capacity and had a $21 billion investment. It accounted for 39 percent of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2009 (down slightly from 2008, but up dramatically from 2004, when it was 4 percent). The report says that for the fifth straight year, win was the second-largest new resource added to the U.S. electric grid, behind natural gas. It was ahead of new coal power.

Community colleges in areas where there are wind turbines (including Dabney Lancaster near Covington, anticipating turbines in Highland County) are teaching students how to work with and on the turbines (that's jobs, for those still guessing, in addition to jobs manufacturing and installing the generators).

Griffith insists that we must continue to generate dirty power, to choke children to death and to retain coal mining jobs (which also kill a whole lot of people every year), rather than going to alternate forms of energy that are cleaner, healthier and more dependable. It is an industry that could hire coal miners tired of going into a hole to work every day.

China, which has recognized alternative energy as a potential profit center, overtook the U.S. in annual wind generation plant additions (though the U.S. leads the world in “cumulative wind power capacity”), according to the report. The rest of the world is serious about wind power with countries like Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and Ireland.

Texas leads the U.S. in wind capacity addition with Indiana and Iowa behind in the distance. Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota lead the U.S. in generating the highest share of in-state electricity from wind power.

(By the way, Griffith wants to serve in a city he apparently detests and whose name he can't pronounce, if his TV ads are an indication. Washington does not have an "r" in it.)

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