Exclusive Videos: US Wind Industry Launches #InTheirOwnWords Project

on April 09, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Wisconsin Lawmakers To Debate Bill That Would Cripple Wind Energy In StateSince the dawn of the 21st century, wind power has grown from providing less than one-third of 1 percent of U.S. electricity generation to 4.4 percent in 2014. And there’s reason to believe it could become much bigger – the cost of wind energy has declined and the U.S. Department of Energy recently laid out a scenario under which wind could contribute 35 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2050.

Despite this success, perhaps no form of renewable energy has been subject to as much debate in the nation’s capital as wind, which has benefited from important if not always consistent support, particularly through the production tax credit. The PTC expired in 2014, and the industry is again looking to Congress to revive it. American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan calls it a “common-sense policy” that would “double U.S. wind energy in the next five years.”

Opponents like Sen. Lamar Alexander (R- Tennessee) say the PTC has gone on long enough. Alexander recently lashed out at the “wasteful wind subsidy, which cost taxpayers about $6 billion every year we extend it,” and said the money could be used to double basic energy research at the DOE.

While the debate about the economic and energy merits of the PTC goes on, AWEA is moving to put a human face on wind, with a project called “InTheirOwnWords.” The initiative features a series of short videos that capture the wind story from a perspective of those who are actually in the industry, working for manufacturers, or leasing their land for turbines, for example. AWEA shared the first three of those videos with Breaking Energy.

The Texas Farmer

Mark Pirkle is a farmer in Comanche, Texas, who is leasing his land for 16 wind turbines that will be part of Logan’s Gap Wind. He is also the owner of a company that was hired to do some of the construction work for the project. Upon completion, Pattern Energy will own the bulk of the project. Wal-Mart has a PPA to purchase some of the wind farm’s energy.

The Dispatch Center Worker

Seth Zehler supervised the dispatch centers for coal and gas plants, before deciding to work for the wind industry.

The Wind-Tower Plant Employee

Sandra Hughes describes how she and her husband went to work for Broadwind Energy, where they manufacture towers for wind farms.