I saw something that was fairly inspiring at the wind conference today: agreement between a hard core Republican and loyal Democrat. Even better, the issue they agreed on was the importance and necessity of wind power and the Production Tax Credit for wind power projects. The Republican was Karl Rove, who is known as “Bush’s brain” and one of W’s senior advisers. The Democrat was Robert Gibbs, who is best known as President Obama’s Press Secretary. In all honesty, the two were a little testy on other items, especially Rove who blamed Obama for our dysfunctional government. Nonetheless, they found common ground, and shared the stage together without trying to kill each other.
The rest of my day was not quite as interesting, as the seminars I went to talked about the details of siting wind turbines. Most of it was too specific for my use. However, between sessions I wrote a letter to my Congresspeople about the need to extend the Production Tax Credit, and you can too! (Here is a little info on the Production Tax Credit if it does not sound familiar: http://awea.org/issues/federal_policy/upload/PTC-Fact-Sheet.pdf) For some reason, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) combined letter writing with a three hole miniature golf course. I don’t see the connection, so please let me know if you figure it out. Anyways, there is a prize if you hit a hole in one, and I was lucky enough to do it! The prize is a 12 inch “Executive Desktop Model” of a wind turbine, which I’ll have to somehow fit into my suitcase.
The day concluded with a session on the economic impacts of wind power and why it should be a part of our future. This is definitely the most positive seminar thus far, and it truly is amazing how wind power can boost local economies. For example, the state of North Carolina basically has no wind power (202 kw, or 1/10,000th the installed wind capacity of Minnesota), yet over 5,000 people are employed by the wind energy supply chain in North Carolina. These are folks who add some piece to the overall puzzle, like making fiberglass for the turbine blades or recycling steel to make parts.