At Wind Speed: How the U.S. Wind Industry is Rapidly Growing Our Local Economies

Issue Brief
August 28, 2012

Over the last two decades, the U.S. wind industry has grown dramatically. Across the country, more than 50,000 megawatts of wind power are installed, and American companies dominate the global wind turbine industry, and are expanding in almost every state to meet theincreasing global demand for wind power.

This report focuses on four case studies in Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Oregon to show how wind power is creating much-needed jobs, reducing pollution that harms our children's health, and cutting our dependence on dirty and limited fossil fuels.

As this report illustrates, embracing clean, renewable energy that is found in the United States, has the ability to transform our communities in dramatic ways. Unfortunately, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides a tax credit to wind projects for the clean renewable power they generate, is scheduled to expire at the end of this year. Across the nation, the PTC has played a valuable role in leveling the playing field for wind powerand growing an industry that now provides jobs to 75,000 Americans.

Passing an extension of the PTC and preserving and bolstering other successful federal and state policies would help American communities in all sorts of ways, from keeping and creating local jobs, to cleaning up local air and water, to increasing government revenues that can be reinvested in schools and roads, to growing local industries that can benefit the entire area.

Wind energy is an important part of this country's future. As we replace our aging energy infrastructure and look to both rebuild our economy and compete in new global industries, all while minimizing pollution, renewable energy resources like wind power can provide the secure, reliable, and clean energy options that Americans of all political stripes want.