Last week, I presented on wind energy at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in Atlanta hosted by the Blue Green Alliance. The Southeast isn’t well known as a bastion for wind farms; however, there are plenty of good, green jobs and companies that have set up shop in the region to serve the wind industry nationally and internationally. Companies in our region are involved manufacturing fiberglass for turbine blades (PPG, North Carolina), steel towers (World Tower Co., Kentucky), gearboxes (ZF, Georgia) and a slew of other components (including slew rings by IMO, South Carolina) and services for the wind industry. Sure, we face some obstacles to building wind farms here (such as outmoded information and a lack of strong renewable energy policies), but some recent events suggest our region is primed for wind energy.
Take for example the efforts by Clean Line Energy to connect the windy Plains states to Tennessee via a high voltage direct current transmission line. Clean Line’s efforts may connect up to 7,000 megawatts of wind energy to the Southeast at a cost of around 5.5-6.0 cents per kilowatt hour according to the company. Another company, Pattern Energy, is developing a transmission line to connect up to 3,000 megawatts of wind energy from Texas to Mississippi.
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