Renewable energy is on the rise. As a
homegrown, reliable energy source, wind and solar have become billion-dollar
investments that have created jobs, provided incomes for families and
benefitted America’s heartland. As the call for carbon-reduction sounds, the
energy market has never been stronger.
Love is in the air this month, and
there’s plenty to love about clean energy. Here are just four reasons why we
Secure, family-supporting jobs.
In the Midwest, wind and solar provide
the most clean energy jobs, employing over
70,000 people in stable
careers paying a livable wage. Typical clean energy jobs include developers, installers
and technicians. In 2018, the average pay for wind turbine technicians was $54,370/year
($26.14/hour), while the average pay for solar installers was $42,680/year
Clean energy jobs also include
engineers, lawyers, financial analysts and many more! America’s veterans have a
large footprint in clean energy jobs. Throughout their service, veterans learn
trade and professional skills that they can apply outside their units, making
them a great fit for these jobs. The wind industry proudly hires veterans 67 percent
more than any other industry.
The demand for renewable energy also
creates opportunity on the supply chain, such transportation and shipping as
well as the nation’s 500 manufacturing facilities. When a project gets the
greenlight, construction jobs boom. After the project is built, full-time
positions such as site management and office staff become a necessity.
Farmers are one of
the biggest financial
of renewable energy. After years of harvesting crops, farmers are now adding
wind and solar. Farmers that host turbines on their property are compensated with
land-lease payments. These fixed-term leases provide a stable, guaranteed
annual income. Approximately $289
million in annual income was paid to U.S. farmers and rural landowners in
Renewable energy never runs out.
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Contrary to popular myths, renewable
energy is reliable and resilient. The U.S. electric grid is the largest interconnected machine on Earth and was named the “supreme
engineering achievement of the 20th century” by the National Academy of Engineers.
Grid operators continue to integrate
large amounts of wind energy into the electric grid. Wind reliably powers more than 20 percent of a number of Midwestern states, such as
Iowa and North and South Dakota. Thanks to the nation’s network of transmission
lines and integrated regional electric system, operators are equipped with resources from across
their footprint to meet energy demand.
Technology also plays a huge role in
energy supply. Changes and advancements in wind components allow turbines to
produce more energy to maximize power output. Forecasting technology can
accurately determine changes in wind and cloud coverage, making accommodating
the variability of renewables much easier.
Advancements in technology allows for
modern wind energy plants to provide the same grid reliability that would come from a traditional power
plant. Adding solar to the mix is a great compliment to wind energy.
Renewable energy is a drought-proof cash crop
Farmers who host wind
turbines or solar installations benefit from fixed-terms leases, which helps
them make ends meet in wet and dry years, through unexpected frosts or
hailstorm damage, through times of low commodity prices or lower yields. Farmers
who harvest the wind or sun can have a guaranteed yield with stable revenue.
Benefits rural communities
The majority of all
wind and solar projects are located in rural areas, and clean energy allows farmers to export products on their
land sustainably. Wind turbines need only half
an acre of land for towers and access roads,
leaving plenty of room for other crops and livestock. Many farmers have come to
appreciate the access roads during harvest time. As
wind and solar have become new cash crops for farmers, the broader communities
surrounding them have enjoyed the consistent benefits that come with this new
source of property tax revenue.
Wind farms provide
new tax revenue for the county and township, which is often used to improve
roads, bridges and reduce taxes for the community. Not only does this help the
whole community, but it also helps farmers ensure they can continue operating
heavy machinery on roads and bridges around their farm.
According to AWEA’s 2018 Annual Market Report, The U.S. wind industry has
brought in over $142 billion in capital investment to rural America and over
$1 billion in state and local taxes and lease payments to private landowners.
The demand for wind and solar energy
is here, and their capacity to meet our energy needs and reduce carbon
emissions is growing. Last year was the third strongest year for wind energy additions, and the potential
for solar energy growth is rising rapidly. Wind and solar provide a source of
income, and deliver low-cost and reliable energy. It’s no wonder that society
is shifting its gears toward- clean energy. Renewable energy is just smart, and
that’s why we love it.