Posts Tagged ‘wind turbines’

Green Jobs UnicornTexas is a sparkly mythical wonderland full of unicorns.  And by unicorns, I mean green jobs.  And by green jobs, I mean well-paying, long-term jobs ranging from maintenance to operations, project management, and high-tech engineering.

Wortham: Unicorns are alive, well and working the wind out west

Greg Wortham, Special Contributor

Monday, October 05, 2009

Texas Texas Comptroller Susan Combs was quoted recently in The Wall Street Journal as saying the wind power industry in Texas has created only 500 to 800 jobs and that finding a “green” job in Texas would like finding a unicorn.

“I don’t know where the new jobs are going to come from,” Combs said. “They’re not going to come from wind.” Well, apparently the unicorn is alive and well in Texas. I am the mayor of Sweetwater, the wind energy capital of the Americas and America’s energy solutions center. I guess my town would be as good a place as any to find “the mythical beast” that Combs says does not exist.

A detailed study of the economic impacts of wind energy in our single county was released at the Texas Capitol in summer 2008 that details that Nolan County hosts more wind energy jobs than the Lone Star State’s chief accountant says exist in the entire state. Interviews directly with more than 20 local wind energy companies demonstrated that we have well more than 1,000 wind energy jobs just here.

Even with a temporary reduction in 2009 construction (which is already beginning to gear back up), our community alone has more permanent wind energy jobs than the comptroller says exist in all of Texas. More than $4 billion of capital investment has been spent here since 2001, and the county tax base has increased 500 percent due substantially to wind energy capital investment, numbers that are reported to the comptroller.

And we are not an isolated “greenie” subculture. We are a proud Texas energy community, where 20 percent of the work force is in wind energy, 20 percent is in oil and gas, and 10 percent is in nuclear energy (www.ludlums.com). We are also scheduled for the world’s first commercial-scale carbon sequestration coal-fired power plant (www.tenaskatrailblazer.com). (more…)

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Check out our editorial in the Round Rock Leader, in response to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s piece “Cap and Trade is No Good For Texas”:

A rebuttal to Sen. Hutchison’s piece concerning Cap and Trade policies


Special to the Leader

United States Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison takes a head-in-the-hot-sand approach to climate change that will get Texas burned and drive tens of thousands of new jobs elsewhere (“Cap and Trade is No Good For Texas,” Aug. 27 Leader).

She misses the mark on energy policy, using discredited industry statistics to drum up fear about a Cap and Trade policy that represents just a small portion of the initiatives proposed in the energy bill that passed the House of Representatives in July.

She fails to acknowledge that the bill includes provisions for renewable energy and energy efficiency – the real solutions to climate change.

Hutchison’s solution is no solution at all: more oil, more coal and more nuclear, with absolutely no coherent policy on how to lower energy costs and find alternatives to dwindling resources.

While America is faced with the worst economic crisis in generations, Sen. Hutchison is turning away opportunities to create new jobs while slavishly clinging to the talking points of the oil industry.

Families are hurting from high energy prices.

The answer lies in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, which have proven to save Texans money.

Even The Wall Street Journal reports that “Wind Power Makes Electricity Cheaper in Texas,” and families that have received energy efficiency retrofits from their electric utility save money every month.

In the dieting world, low-calorie treats never taste as good as their fatty counterparts, but in the energy efficiency world, both light bulbs burn just as brightly. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

If Sen. Hutchison is as worried about job loss as she professes, she should work to improve the anemic renewable energy and efficiency goals in the bill.

Texas, as the leader in wind power and home to a burgeoning solar industry, would stand to gain 153,000 of new green jobs by passing a strengthened and stream-lined bill.

Texas already has employed more than 9,000 individuals to build our current crop of wind turbines, representing just a drop in the bucket in terms of the green jobs that national clean energy policies could bring to our state.

Big polluters are trying to scare people with exaggerated costs of addressing climate change.

Independent analyses from the EPA and CBO show the actual price to Americans to be less than a postage stamp a day.

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that strong action on climate change, including Cap and Trade, would save Texas families an average of $980 a year.

Opponents are concerned that Texas refineries are going to be hurt by this bill, but the House-passed bill provides more than $2 billion in free carbon credits to refiners.

How is about $2 billion in handouts to corporations not enough?

The oil industry is floating a red herring argument about sending competition overseas.

The U.S. Department of Energy projects that gasoline imports will decrease under the climate bill due to slowing demand and fuel economy improvements.

Sen. Hutchison has received more than $2.1 million in campaign contributions from the oil industry during her Senate career, so her remarks may have more to do with giving back to an industry that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, has been the largest single source of financing for her Senate campaigns.

If Sen. Hutchison really wants to do what’s right for Texas, she should strengthen the climate bill, rather than shoot it down.

If she is worried about price impacts on Texas families, she should strengthen consumer protections and strip out the billion-dollar in-dustry giveaways.

And if she’s concerned about Texas’ financial well being, she should remember that Texas above all else is an energy state – which means that we must have a future in clean, renewable energy as well.

But just saying “no” to a new energy bill, “no” to new jobs and “no” to new industries is “no good for Texas.”

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Kudos and many thanks to San Antonio’s outgoing Mayor Hardberger and council members Justin Rodriguez, Jennifer Ramos, Lourdes Galvan, and Phillip Cortez for signing on to a letter urging Congressman Charlie Gonzalez to get with the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act program.

The letter reads:

We have an unprecedented opportunity to put San Antonians to work in new green jobs — building wind turbines, installing solar panels, weatherizing homes, and laying a smarter electric grid that will power our new energy economy.  We also believe it is of the utmost important that we rescue our children, our grandchildren, and the world they’ll inherit from the ravages of global warming.

According to Greg Harman at the San Antonio Current’s QueQue blog,

The cadre adds the weight of local elected leadership to an ongoing campaign working to ensure San Antonio’s representative in Congress (serving on the influential House Committee on Energy & Commerce) pushes for binding commitments to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions quickly while transitioning the economy into a more sustainable direction.

Hopefully Charlie is feeling the pressure and will back away from the polluter giveaways he’s been flirting with as of late.  That’s because, everybody with me now, Giving Away Allowances is a Terrible Way to Write This Bill.  EPA’s most recent analysis says that giving away pollution credits is “highly regressive”, meaning it hurts low-income families the most. At best, this is a bailout and a free ride for the polluters. At worst it will create windfall profits for huge energy companies at the expense of every lower and middle income family in Texas.

Just listen to that broken record spin. No shame here, I’ll say it as many times as it takes for it sink in.

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