According to the US Department of Energy, wind power has the potential to supply 20 percent of the nation's electrical energy in the next 20 years. Several Midwestern states already obtain nearly 20 percent of their power needs from wind.
Called clean, abundant and affordable, D-O-E officials say a move towards wind energy would create up to half-a- million jobs, result in billions in savings for both energy producer and consumer alike, and reduce the use of fossil fuels.
But achieving this goal will require more than increasing the number of wind turbines. The aging electrical grid will need replacement. More technicians will need training to service the increased number of turbines. And additional off-shore exploration will need to be conducted.
This week, 29 of the nation's governors joined in releasing their plan for increasing wind power generation in the United States.
A coalition representing governors of 29 states urged Congress this week to take steps to boost wind energy. The bipartisan Governors' Wind Energy Coalition is calling for the federal government to adopt a renewable energy standard or RES.
The governors hope their recommendations will spur the development of the nations' renewable energy industry. In the last session of Congress, the House approved a national RES but the Senate never took up the issue.
On Tuesday, Iowa Democratic Governor Chet Culver, the coalition's chairman, released the following statement: "We offer our assistance in working with Congress and the administration to achieve one of the nation's principal energy goals, energy independence, and increasing the role that wind energy plays in meeting that challenge."
Recommendations by the group include developing new infrastructure for electricity transmission to provide access to renewable energy resources both on and off-shore. The governors seek funding of technology to develop wind energy in coastal areas. They want to streamline the permit process for wind energy projects. And, they are calling for the extension of the wind energy production tax credit, or PTC. Industry advocacy groups are lobbying hard for the extension to protect jobs and revenues of wind energy companies.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act passed by the House last year required retail electric providers to produce six percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2012, ramping up to 20-percent by 2020. The Senate never took up the measure.