America’s fast-growing job?
Here’s why Trump’s vendetta against what he calls “the windmills” hurts his own voters:
Wind techs are blue collar guys in red states
As of December 2015, there were more than 8,800 wind techs — guys who climb wind turbines to perform maintenance — and wind techs are the single fastest-growing job in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Additionally, approximately 21,000 of all ~88,000 US wind jobs are manufacturing jobs, largely in the Rust Belt.
Wind tech jobs are growing faster than any other job in America
Not understanding the job-creating power of wind energy wouldn’t be his only mistake:
Trump: “First of all, we don’t make the windmills in the United States. They’re made in Germany and Japan. The windmills need massive subsidies. In other words, we’re subsidizing windmills all over this country. I mean, for the most part they don’t work. Most of ‘em are made in Germany, most of ‘em are made, you know, Siemens and the Chinese are making most of them. They may assemble — if you check, I think you’ll find that the, it’s delivered there and they do most of the assembly. [Infrastructure] spending didn’t work for Obama because… they spent it on a lot of other things. You know, nobody can find out where that last… you know, from a few years ago… where that money went. I have to see about withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. See how much Paris costs us.”*
*What Trump calls “windmills” are actually wind turbines. Turbines produce electricity. Wind “mills” were a 16th century invention, just simple paddles driven by wind to mechanically grind corn or maize underneath them in a small building.
They’re made in Germany and Japan
Reality: NOT TRUE
They are made in the USA
Fact: GE built 42% of turbines in US wind farms last year. GE is #1, Denmark’s Vestas is #2 and Germany’s Siemens is #3.
The wind industry is always local, and the US is second only to climate-conscious and job-focused China in installed wind power. (Goldwind is the world leader in wind because China has beat the US to first place globally in installed wind. Trump could change that.) It makes no sense to ship massive machinery across oceans to another continent where they will be installed, so even Vestas employs nearly 3,700 workers in Colorado, and GE makes and sells turbines globally too.
Over 21,000 of the wind industry’s 88,000 well-paying blue collar wind jobs are in manufacturing, primarily in the rust belt.
Leaving the Paris agreement saves jobs
Reality: QUITE THE OPPOSITE
Wind energy jobs have record-breaking job growth. The US solar industry employs more people than coal mining or oil & gas extraction and pipelines.
Fact: We keep the Paris Agreement by building more solar and wind power. Both solar and wind are growing faster than other industries. US solar energy industry jobs reached 142,000 in 2014 and passed up the number of coal mining jobs. In 2015, the US solar industry reached 208,859 jobs, surpassing the number of jobs in the oil & gas extraction and pipeline sectors (combined) — and this was at a time when the oil & gas industry was booming.
We will lose jobs by leaving Paris, and we will gain many more by sticking with the agreement — or even pushing these fast-growing industries faster.
Already, red states are leading the way to building more wind power..
The US wind industry has grown to 88,000 jobs, and over 38,000 of these jobs are blue collar workers developing, constructing, and running wind projects as wind techs. Over 21,000 of these well-paying wind jobs are in manufacturing. Wind manufacturing jobs rose 10% over the prior year.
Not only are these wind energy jobs in America — not Germany and Japan — but they are in red state America. Texas employs over 24,000 wind energy workers, and Oklahoma has 7,000. Iowa employs over 6,000, and Kansas employs 5,000.
Not only are America’s wind farms in red states, but they are in low-income rural red counties in red states. Maybe Trump doesn’t want them sullying views at his fancy golf course resorts, but rural red state farmers earn $222 million hosting wind turbines.
“Overall, 70% of wind farms are located in low-income counties, supplying them with an economic boost. Wind developers pay a growing total of $222 million a year in land lease payments to U.S. farmers, ranchers, and other rural landowners.” (Source)
Nobody knows where Obama’s investment went
Obama’s $80 billion built clean energy jobs
“The Recovery Act investments of $80 billion for clean energy will produce as much as $150 billion in clean energy projects. This includes Recovery Act appropriations across all government agencies. It includes appropriations, federal loans, and tax incentives.”(Source)
As a result, the US wind industry alone had $128 billion in private investment. (Source)
Fact: Here’s who benefited from this wind industry growth: blue collar working guys.
“These guys race stock cars, they ride motorcycles or rodeo. There’s something else in their life that’s also risky, it’s not just the job they do. That might be rock climbing, mountain climbing, riding ATV vehicles,” Upwind’s Mike Kelley, Upwind Director of Health and Safety told me in 2012, when the wind O&M industry first began to reel from the jobs boom of the American Recovery Act passed by Democrats in 2009, and clean energy took off.
The wind industry needs fit and fearless guys. Electrical and mechanical aptitude is a plus.
Professionalism and integrity are key qualities too, according to Charles Lister, who was then Chair of Wind Technology at Texas State Technical College, who said vets fit the bill to a T.
“The cream rises to the top,” he told me.“Vets have already demonstrated a lot of the qualities employers are looking for. It’s all those boy scout qualities: reliability, punctuality, maturity, team work.”
*The Recovery Act investment went to solar PV, CSP, electric vehicles and wind.
Windmills don’t work
Reality: DEMONSTRABLY FALSE
Wind power was the #1 new generating capacity added in 2015
Fact: Wind power would not have been the number one source of electricity added in America in 2015 if wind power did not work. Utility executives who sign power purchase agreements by the megawatt-hour produced aren’t stupid.
Wind power beat not just coal, but also solar in second place, and natural gas in third place, according to Bloomberg New Energy and Finance’s 2016 Sustainable Energy Factbook.
US wind turbines in particular “work.” In gigawatt-hours of energy produced, US turbines beat Chinese ones.
Wind is very, very expensive
Reality: NOT TRUE
Wind is now the cheapest electricity on the grid in many regions
Fact: The more wind is added, the cheaper it gets. Technologies improve as they become more widely deployed and in the last 5 years wind has become cheaper than gas in many if not most regions (and whenever volatile gas costs go up).
Since 2008, when wind and solar began to make their mark on the grid, due to the Obama administration investment in clean energy, retail electricity rates have gone down an average 5.8%. (Source: BNEF’s 2016 Factbook.)
Conclusion: Trump risks losing his own voters with his fact-free vendetta against wind power.
*Trumps amalgamated comments on wind were lightly edited to deal with just one topic from Trump’s word salads, in order to focus on his many lies about wind power — read in full in the New York Times Trump transcript.