U.S. Department of Energy Wind Energy Report Contradicts Job Claims

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LANSING – A new study by the U.S. Department of Energy exposes the fundamental flaws in the Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs claims about why Michigan should become the only state in the nation to lock a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) into its constitution. 

The report shows that the entire nationwide wind energy sector directly and indirectly employs 75,000 workers from construction and manufacturing to turbine operations and maintenance. Meanwhile, supporters of locking an RPS in the Michigan constitution claim that passing a 25 percent RPS in Michigan would create “94,000 jobs” in the state alone.

“Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs supporters are delusional if they think one state alone could double all U.S. wind energy jobs – even if we are the only state to lock an RPS in the constitution, as would be the case under their proposal,” said Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants. “This new report by the U.S. Department of Energy demonstrates that their jobs claims are preposterous.”

The following report information is contrary to Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs’ claims:

• Michigan is not “behind” other states when it comes to wind energy penetration, with 44 other states still not reaching 10 percent wind energy penetration. According to the report, only “six states are estimated to exceed 10% wind energy penetration.”

• The U.S. wind turbine manufacturing sector is already at overcapacity. This is projected to worsen in the coming years, making it extremely unlikely that many (if any) new wind manufacturing jobs will be based in Michigan.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy: “The growth in U.S. wind turbine manufacturing capability and the drop in wind power plant installations since 2009 led to an estimated over-capacity of U.S. turbine nacelle assembly capability of more than 5 gigawatts (GW) in 2011, in comparison to 4 GW of under-capacity in 2009. Overcapacity relative to U.S. turbine demand is anticipated to be even more severe in 2013 and 2014.”

• Modest electricity demand growth and low natural gas prices are causing the U.S. wind power industry to face “uncertain times”, which is why energy policy should not be locked into the state constitution.

The “2011 Wind Technologies Market Report” can be found on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website at: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wind/pdfs/2011_wind_technologies_market_report.pdf.

It was not commissioned or paid for by any special interest group.

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