New Wind Farms in the
Millions Have Been Invested in Wind Farms, but That Hasn't Brought Jobs
By JONATHAN KARL
Feb. 9, 2010
Despite all the talk of green jobs, the overwhelming
majority of stimulus money spent on wind power has gone to foreign companies,
according to a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the
Nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year. But the study found that nearly 80 percent of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.
So Where Are the Jobs?
"Most of the jobs are going overseas," said
Russ Choma at the Investigative Reporting Workshop. He analyzed which foreign
firms had accepted the most stimulus money. "According to our estimates,
about 6,000 jobs have been created overseas, and maybe a couple hundred have
been created in the
Even with the infusion of so much stimulus money, a recent report by American Wind Energy Association showed
a drop in
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the flow of money
to foreign companies an outrage, because the stimulus,
he said, was intended to create jobs inside the
"This is one of those stories in
Matt Rogers, the senior adviser to the Secretary of Energy for the Recovery Act, denied there was a problem.
"The recovery act is creating jobs in the
How Did This Happen?
Several of the large European turbine manufacturers
had limited manufacturing facilities in the
Iberdrola, one of the largest operators of renewable
energy worldwide, is based in Spain and has received the most
Eric Sheesley was one of those laid off from the Gamesa plant before Thanksgiving. "When we're employing other countries, we can't feed our kids at home. It gets hard you know." Sheesley had a glimmer of hope when a letter arrived this week telling him to report back to work next week.
One reason so much money is going overseas is that
there is not much of a wind power industry in the
Schumer said the way to revitalize the domestic wind
power industry and to create green jobs is to require that at least some of the
turbine equipment to be made in the
An American Farm With Chinese Jobs
Perhaps the most controversial wind project is one that has yet to receive stimulus money.
A Chinese company called A-power is helping to build
a massive $1.5 billion wind farm in
Walt Hornaday, an American partner on the project, said it would create some American jobs. "Our estimation," he said, "is that we are going to have on the order of 300 construction jobs just within the fence of the project."
But that's in addition to 2,000 manufacturing jobs --
many of them in
Lauren Reynolds, a reporter at ABC's San Diego affiliate 10 News, paid a visit to the vacant office of A-power.