Missouri Clean Energy Jobs Saved from "Fiscal Cliff"
Missouri's first utility-scale windfarm at King City Photo credit: John Deere Wind Energy
January 7, 2013
JEFERSON CITY, Mo. - The trade group the American Wind Energy Association says the fiscal cliff deal is saving thousands of clean energy jobs in Missouri and around the nation. That's because the deal reinstated the wind energy tax credit that expired at the end of the year.
Gene Cobb is relieved. The president of UAW local 2379, he works at the ABB plant in Jefferson City.
"Underneath every one of those big towers with the big propeller on the top, there's a transformer that sits at the base of those things. We build those transformers, so it's a big deal for us. It's going to create more jobs down the road."
Besides transformers, a dozen plants in Missouri produce all kinds of parts, such as carbon fiber for the blades, ball bearings, lubrication systems and brakes for wind turbines. According to the association, Missouri has tripled its wind installations since 2009, powering more than 100,000 homes with clean energy.
Cobb says they've been producing wind energy transformers at the ABB plant since 1990 and the technology keeps improving.
"Technology gets better and better and better. It's a whole different world than what we made in 1990. I'm excited about it. I really am. We've got to do things differently than what we're doing right now. The whole world does."
John Hickey, director of the Missouri Chapter of the Sierra Club, agrees. He says the wind energy tax credit, which could expire again, is just a drop in the bucket compared to all the subsidies dirty energy has received over the years.
"The federal government subsidizes coal and oil. Those subsidies don't have sunsets; they don't have one-year sunsets or two-year sunsets so that they're debated frequently. They are permanent."
A recent analysis by DBL investors found that average federal support for the oil and gas industry has been nearly $5 billion a year, compared to just over one-third of a billion dollars for renewable energy, which creates no carbon dioxide pollution.
More information is available at www.awea.org, www.dblinvestors.com and at http://www.missouri.sierraclub.org.