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Wind power is job creator in tough times, governors say

Wind power is job creator in tough times, governors say(By Thomas Content via the Journal Sentinel)Midwestern governors on Tuesday endorsed a national renewable energy

standard that they said would stimulate creation of more manufacturing jobs

in the Midwest.A poll conducted for the American Wind Energy Association and released at

the association's annual conference in Chicago found that voters back a

national mandate to require 25% of the nation's electricity to come from

renewable sources by 2025.The poll, which has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, found

bipartisan support for the renewable power standard, said Denise Bode, AWEA

chief executive, with 86% of Democrats, 71% of independents and 62% of

Republicans backing 25% renewable power by 2025.Bode and four Midwestern governors spoke on a conference call on the

opening day of the wind industry's annual conference, which is taking place

as Congress is debating energy legislation including a renewable energy

mandate and measures aimed at boosting the nation's transmission grid.Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle pointed to the job-creation taking place in

Wisconsin Rapids, a town hit hard by cutbacks in the paper industry, with

the expansion of Energy Composites Inc., a supplier to the wind industry.“Initially they’re hiring 400 people, and hope to be going to 1,000 people

that will be building blades” for wind turbines, Doyle said.“This really is what we really are all talking about and we hope it’s

repeated hundreds and hundreds of times over," he said.Wind powerdevelopment is expanding in Wisconsin and across the Midwest, and

states hit hard by cuts in the manufacturing sector need to look at options

other than the traditional industries like automobile assembly, said

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.Granholm said auto-industry suppliers need to retool toward renewable

energy to help convert the region "from the Rust Belt to the Green Belt."“The bottom line for us is about jobs,” she said. “I tell people in

Michigan whenever you hear the words ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming,’

think ‘jobs for Michigan.’ ”In Wisconsin, manufacturers concerned about rising electricity costs have

raised concerns about renewable power mandates. A major expansion of wind

power isn't needed, they say, given that Wisconsin is still paying to build

coal-fired power plants and demand for electricity is falling.But supporters of renewable energy say it needs to be tapped because the

price of the fuel is zero when the wind blows.“This is something that is needed not only for jobs, but also for

stabilizing costs for consumers,” said John Wellinghoff, chairman of the

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “It’s diversification of our energy

mix. We need to diversify our energy mix to move off of volatile fossil

fuels and we need to electrify our transportation system in this country.”For the latest renewable energy jobs across the Midwest, the US and

globally, please click here