American Wind Farms: Breaking Down the Benefits from Planning to Production

Stand underneath a wind turbine and it's easy to be awestruck.

Above you is a structure as tall as a 30-story building, with turbines as large as a football field and blades rotating at over 200MPH on the tips. It is an impressive example of energy innovation, and yet one of these mammoth wind towers provides clean, renewable energy by a simple mechanical feat -- the spinning turbines turn a generator that provides power for hundreds of homes.

Wind works. Over the past four decades, wind has provided an increasing amount of the energy we use. Today, wind farms generate about 50,000 megawatts of clean, renewable energy -- the equivalent of the energy produced by 12 Hoover Dams.

As this report illustrates, clean, renewable energy is just the start of what we get from growing the number of wind farms across the country. The wind industry now employs 75,000 Americans. U.S. companies and their workers produce approximately 65 percent of every wind turbine part. Wind energy is giving American companies the chance to participate in a new and exciting global industries, American workers the chance to apply existing skills and seek new opportunities in a growing sector, and American communities the chance to prosper from truly clean, renewable energy.

And yet all of this growth and increased employment could be stopped in its tracks if Congress allows an important wind energy incentive -– the Production Tax Credit (PTC) –- to expire. If instead Congress acts to continue the PTC, the wind industry can continue its impressive success story. The amount of wind energy generated by U.S. wind farms has nearly tripled in the past four years, and wind power has represented at least one-third of all new power added in America over the last five years. In fact, estimates show America could get 20 percent of its electricity from wind by 2030 -– about as much as we get from nuclear energy.

This report outlines just how many jobs -- and what kinds -- low from a typical wind project. It is time to dispel the myths about wind and recognize the enormous value it provides to the health of our communities and the strength of our economy. Pulling the rug out from under wind now would cost jobs today and sacrifice future good, domestic jobs for many Americans across multiple economic sectors.