Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Jeff Merkley of Oregon are leading a bipartisan push for “robust” wind energy funding in the 2020 funding bills. Grassley, a Republican, and Merkley, a Democrat, call the funding necessary to “continue supporting rural communities, advance domestic energy independence, and ensure America remains a leader in wind energy technology.”
Their comments were sent in a letter to the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee. The senators noted that the wind industry employs more than 100,000 Americans and the wind turbine technician is America’s second-fastest growing job. The wind industry also employs veterans at a rate that is 50 percent higher than the national average. Grassley and Merkley were joined on the letter by a bipartisan group of 17 senators.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates distributed wind could be deployed at an additional 49 million sites in the U.S. alone. Approximately 99 percent of wind turbines are located in rural communities, and in 2018, winds turbines produced $289 million in annual land lease payments in the United States.