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What does Wind Power Have? Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

The fast growing wind power industry currently employs 102,000 workers in the U.S., which is 25,000 more workers than last year. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported some months ago that new data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), verified the number of Americans employed by the wind power industry is more than those working at nuclear, natural gas, coal, or hydroelectric power plants. Working on wind turbines is turning out to be the fastest-growing job sector in the United States, now and in the foreseeable future. According to DOE’s earlier Wind Vision report, 380,000 American wind jobs could be created by 2030.

A view of the Middelgruden offshore wind farm. The wind farm was developed off the Danish coast in 2000 and consists of 20 turbines.
25/May/2009. , Denmark. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe. www.un.org/av/photo/

Wind power energy has doubled its energy output in the last 5 years and is now the country’s fourth-largest source of electric capacity behind natural gas, coal and nuclear energy. Wind power produces eight times more American electricity than  solar, and its energy output is ahead of hydroelectric. Although wind is only 1.4% of total US energy, it generates about 5.5 percent of America’s electricity which is enough to power 24 million homes.

These numbers haven’t gone unnoticed by the financial world. Recently, U.S. Trust, a private investment firm, reported on the growth prospects of wind energy. A story on The Motely Fool, the financial news and commentary site, the three best stocks for investing in wind energy included General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), Vestas Wind Systems (NASDAQOTH:VWDRY) and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK-B) (NYSE:BRK-A), which is one of the largest producers of wind energy in the U.S.

AWEA has a very good in interactive map of utility-scale wind projects and manufacturing facilities across the U.S. here.

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  1. As we continue to use non-sustainable energy sources, the need for clean, renewable energy is greater than ever. Clean energy such as wind has the double advantage of creating jobs and being sustainable. However, many Americans still, for various reasons, don’t think that clean energy is worth investing in or will help the economy. What are some concrete strategies for assuring people that clean energy (like wind energy) will create jobs and support the economy? What are some ways to encourage policy makers and news agencies to publicize more than they currently do that wind power is growing the economy and becoming one of the fastest-growing job sectors in America?

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