The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has named Senator Heitkamp a U.S. Wind Champion for the 115th Congress at an August 8 event hosted by Geronimo Energy and Xcel Energy at the Courtenay Wind Farm in North Dakota. AWEA is presenting U.S. Wind Champion Awards to select members of the 115th Congress who have taken action in support of American wind energy. The award ceremony is a highlight of American Wind Week, August 5 to 11, a national celebration of U.S. leadership in wind power.
“North Dakota is an example of what can happen when you harness a true all-of-the-above energy strategy, which includes renewable energies like wind that supports thousands of good jobs across our state while powering homes and businesses here and in states across the region,” said U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
“I’m proud to have worked to successfully extend the wind energy tax credit back in 2015 to support wind energy development and jobs across our state, and it’s an honor to receive this award today. Wind energy is one of many resources I’ll continue to advocate for. But the ones really who deserve to be acknowledged are those who go to work manufacturing the turbines, constructing the wind farms, and maintaining the wind energy supply and of course the farmers and ranchers who host these turbines on their land,” she added.
Nearly 27% of the electricity produced in North Dakota came from wind last year, enough to power more than 1,000,000 average homes. North Dakota’s 28 wind farms and four wind supply chain factories support 4,000 high-quality jobs and represent more than $5.8 billion in private investment. Wind energy is also a new drought-proof cash crop for North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers, with land lease payments totaling $5 to $10 million every year.
“The energy that is produced in North Dakota powers communities both rural and urban, and if it wasn’t for rural communities stepping up, we would not be as energy secure as we are today. That’s why I wake up every day thinking of rural America and what we can do in the U.S. Senate to make sure these communities thrive,” said Senator Heitkamp.
“Senator Heitkamp’s leadership and ability to work with Democrats and Republicans has helped secure America’s place as a global leader in wind power,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “On many occasions, the Senator put on a hard hat to visit North Dakota’s wind energy construction and factory workers, as well as communities where projects are built to learn firsthand about our industry. It is that sustained commitment that has helped North Dakota achieve the highest wind jobs per capita in the United States. The American wind industry is honored to recognize Senator Heitkamp as a U.S. Wind Champion.”
This year marks the second annual celebration of American Wind Week, following the emergence of wind as America’s largest source of renewable energy capacity in 2017. The U.S. is a global leader in wind power thanks to world-class natural resources and technological innovation. For Americans, wind power leadership translates to economic opportunity, homegrown energy, and clean air. A record 105,000 Americans work in wind power, affordably and reliably supplying over 6 percent of U.S. electricity, and creating clean air benefits worth more than $8 billion each year.