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Winds of Change: A Manufacturing Blueprint for the Wind Industry

The American Wind Energy Association reports that the wind industry could add tens of thousands of jobs, but needs public policy support.

In its Winds of Change report, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports that the wind energy industry currently employs 18,500 manufacturing workers, but could support tens of thousands of additional jobs if policies that favor wind energy are enacted. While the wind sector's employment has grown seven-fold over five years, it has the potential for even greater expansion.

Last year the wind industry added more than 10 gigawatts of new generating power, and provided 2 percent of the country's electricity. While the industry had been rapidly growing for four years, its progress has slowed. This is partly due to taxes and incentives that much be renewed every one to three years.

The industry has the potential to add 14,000 manufacturing jobs, but it requires policies to allow the hiring to happen. Now AWEA and the United Steelworkers Union have collaborated on a Framework Agreement that calls for a national public policy strategy to grow the industry.

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