Citing what some have called the “staggering” economic benefits of wind energy, a growing number of local chamber of commerce leaders across the nation have publicly support wind projects in their communities over the past year.
In South Carolina: Marc Jordan president and CEO of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau last week reported that an offshore wind development project in his community could result in $17 million in annual economic development and hundreds of new jobs.
“We can also begin to factor in utility costs that are projected to continue to rise over the next few years and into the future,” he wrote. “And as these monthly power bills increase and technology closes the gap on wind as a lower cost option, this form of renewable energy just makes sense.” (More.)
In Ohio: More than a dozen chamber presidents, economic development officials, and others signed a public statement in November supporting wind energy. They cited Iberdrola’s $600 million Blue Creek Wind Farm project that pays $2 million annually in local taxes and nearly as much in landowner lease payments. (Later this month, Apex Clean Energy is also expected to celebrate the ribbon-cutting on their development office for a $800-900 million Long Prairie Wind farm project in Van Wert.)
“We have seen wind energy deliver extraordinary economic benefits to several Ohio communities. We know more communities could benefit from wind energy,” they wrote. (More.)
And in Michigan, local chamber VP Chad Gainor from the windy “Thumb” region of the state urged policymakers to increase support of renewable energy business—and encouraged more chamber leaders to speak up for clean energy. In a letter to the editor published by The Huron Daily Tribuneand testimony to the state legislature, he wrote:
“Investing in efficient, renewable energy,” he wrote, “will build upon our manufacturing strength and skill, allow us to retool our factories, attract growing companies and jobs to Michigan, encourage innovation, and put Michigan workers back on the job.” (More.)
With the U.S. Department of Labor having recently forecast wind turbine technicians to be the fastest growing occupation in the country—and growing demand for renewables from major corporations—look for support from local chamber leaders to continue in the year ahead.