Proposed Wind Energy Legislation to Shift Stimulus Spending to 100% U.S. Companies
Proving that what appears simple on the surface may hide complex and controversial issues, four United States senators were told by Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), that their proposal, requiring that the parts of wind turbine installed in U.S. wind farms be manufactured 100% in the US, might actually weaken jobs and slow progress in the nation’s wind energy sector.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, along with fellow Democrats Bob Casey, Sherrod Brown, and Jon Tester, introduced new legislation March 3 to counteract Recovery Act dollars being paid out to foreign manufacturers. The Senators were responding to a February ABC News story covering a report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW) at the American University School of Communication in Washington, DC. According to the report, almost 80 percent of the nearly $2B in stimulus money has been allocated to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.
The AWEA has countered the allegations by noting that although many US wind projects have foreign owners, all stimulus funds must finance projects built within the US, thus preserving and creating American jobs. The Recovery Act directives will provide grants to stimulate manufacturing, but the AWEA contends that requiring that 100% of the parts be made in the US when manufacturing capacity is not currently available would significantly slow the nation’s wind energy sector.