This article comes from AWEA.
U.S. wind power continues to create jobs across the country, employing a record 105,500 men and women. Wind projects or wind-related factories are present in all 50 states, plus Guam and Puerto Rico, and farming communities and factory towns are the biggest beneficiaries.
Nationally, wind turbine technician is one of the country’s two fastest-growing jobs, along with solar installer, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, New Mexico, is one of the schools training the next generation of wind turbine technicians needed to operate and maintain wind farms. These well-paying, stable careers help young people stay in rural communities and grow a family if they wish. Enrollment in the college’s wind turbine technology program has almost doubled year-over-year for the last three years, as demand continues to rise with wind farms built in New Mexico and across the U.S.
Wind turbines use no fuel, but they must be forged in factories by skilled workers. There are over 500 U.S. wind-related factories across 41 states producing components for the wind industry, fueling a domestic manufacturing sector that supports over 23,000 U.S. factory jobs.
The wind industry invests heavily in rural communities, which host 99% of wind farms. Ranchers and farmers were paid an estimated $267 million in 2017 to lease private land for wind farm development while retaining the ability to farm or raise livestock under the turbines. In rural communities across the nation, wind investment provides recession-proof career opportunities and property, state, and local tax revenue to fund schools, roads and emergency services.
Wind power is not only cost-competitive, it also improves air quality and saves water. Operating wind projects avoided 189 million metric tons of CO2 and helped avoid the use of 95 billion gallons of water in 2017. That is the equivalent of eliminating carbon pollution from 40 million cars and saving 292 gallons of water per person in the U.S. Because wind power uses almost no water, less than any other energy source, farmers and ranchers in drought-prone regions have less competition for vital water resources.
Bipartisan support is strong for wind power because all Americans benefit from economic opportunity, homegrown energy, and clean air. Wind projects or wind-related factories are present in 70% of U.S. congressional districts, including 75% of Republican districts and 62% of Democratic districts.
The people and technology driving these wind power trends will gather in Chicago, May 7 to 10, for the WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition, the Western Hemisphere’s largest wind power gathering. WINDPOWER is where the vision and business deals that will drive the future of the industry happen.
Filed Under: Community wind, O&M