OHIO’S wind-energy industry has boomed over the past decade, becoming a model for the rest of the country. But that growth — and the jobs it has created — may come to a dead stop at the end of the year, if Congress fails to extend a tax credit the wind industry needs to stay competitive.
Turning our backs on domestic wind power would be wrong. Doing so would all but guarantee more pollution and the destruction of good, high-paying jobs in Ohio and across the country.
The environmental and economic benefits of wind energy are well established. It is a homegrown source of electricity. Along with other forms of renewable energy, it can help us make the transition over coming decades to new, less-polluting ways to power the state and the country.
Ohio ranks fourth in the nation in the number of jobs related to the wind industry, according to a recent report by the American Wind Energy Association. Last year, investments at two wind farms in northwest Ohio — the Blue Creek Wind Farm and the Timber Road II Wind Farm — totaled $775 million.
The economic benefits from the Blue Creek farm in Paulding County are evident. Landowners collect $1.1 million in annual lease payments. The farm has created more than 300 construction jobs and as many as 20 permanent jobs. These figures do not include the manufacturing jobs created in Ohio and elsewhere to build the components the farm uses.
David Foster is president of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental groups.