â€œâ€¦Blowing down the backroads headinâ€™ south,â€ Bob Dylan prophesied, and turned out to be spot on, with news coming out of the Southwest about an exciting new wind farm, exactly the sort of thing America and Michigan needs to turn our economic fortunes around.
The Wall Street Journal reported on a deal to supply one of the United Statesâ€™ largest wind-farm developments, located in West Texas, with 240 enormous wind turbines. The project would create 2,800 jobs. All good so far. But wait — 85 percent of those jobs would actually employ Chinese nationals overseas.
Cappy McGarr, (AVG note: yes, thatâ€™s a real name) managing partner of U.S. Renewable Energy Group, a private-equity firm that is lead partner on the 600-megawatt development, said the partnership would seek tax credits and support from the federal stimulus package, which should amount to millions of dollars. Mr. McGarr said the project should create 2,800 jobs — of which 15% would be in the U.S. The rest would flow to China, where Shenyang employs 800 people.
Meanwhile, China is planning on future investments in the U.S. renewable industry as a way of creating a market for Chinese wind and solar equipment manufacturers.
“This is just the beginning,” said Lu Jinxiang, chief executive of A-Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd., which controls Shenyang Power. He said the U.S. “is an ideal target” as it seeks to shift to renewable energy from fossil fuels.
Thereâ€™s a huge market for clean energy in the United States, yet a block of United States Senators â€“ no doubt emboldened by polls riddled with trick questions about global warming and checks from Big Oil â€“ are dragging their feet when it comes to passing the actual legislation, despite prominent conservative senators Lindsey Graham and Lisa Murkowski noting their willingness to support the federal clean energy jobs legislation.
Jinxiang is right, this is just the beginning. Of what has yet to be determined; of Michiganâ€™s economic turnaround, steering the Great Lakes State onto the path of 21st century clean energy technology leader, sparked by 54,000 clean energy jobs in the first two years after passing the bill?
Or of Chinaâ€™s dominance of our national and economic security, buoyed by federal tax dollars?
Whatâ€™s clear is that the longer the Senate waits to act, the smaller that window of opportunity gets. Unless the Senate gets on board with President Obamaâ€™s vision to invigorate the economy through manufacturing clean energy technology by passing the legislation â€“ full of policies that encourage domestic production of clean energy systems and technologies â€“ we may as well adopt a new federal standard: 15 percent, the amount of jobs Americans will get of the jobs our industry creates.
Idiot wind, indeed.