In a daring display of green chutzpah, a hair care products company called Zotos International, Inc. has seemingly come out of nowhere to grab the title of biggest wind energy generator of any U.S. manufacturer. The company has just won approval install a $7 million, 3.3 megawatt wind power project for its facility in Geneva, New York. The American Wind Energy Association has said that the project is the largest of its kind in the U.S.
The project went through with significant help from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which chipped in about 30% of the cost of the project. Also helping to win approval from Geneva officials was the company’s commitment to donate the equivalent of 5% of the wind power back to the city. It’s all part of Zotos’s plan to achieve 100% renewable energy at the facility by 2011.
Zotos and Sustainability
Zotos, a subsidiary of cosmetics giant Shiseido Co. Ltd. of Japan, is among the many companies recognizing that sustainability has become a major selling point for American consumers. That’s not only big business for the company, it also means big jobs for the local community. The Geneva plant has more than 670 employees working full time and flex time hours. Sustainable energy can help build the potential for future growth without burdening the local community with the cost of supporting additional power plants, while insulating the company from price spikes and shortages that plague the fossil fuel industry.
Wind Power and the U.S.
Wind power got off to a slow start in the U.S. but it has been making up for lost time. Even the U.S. Army has begun to dabble in wind power, despite its concerns over the potential for radar interference. The potential for new green jobs in the wind power industry has also given rise to a powerful and unprecedented alliance between labor (the United Steel Workers, for one), wind industry leaders, and environmental groups. The fossil fuel industry has had taxpayer subsidies in a headlock for years, but the federal Recovery Act has finally cracked open the door to more government financing for cleaner, safer, and more reliable ways to power our future. A rapidly growing green workforce means more support for future efforts.
Image: Beautiful hair by Saffy on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.