Donald Trump dislikes a lot of things for many reasons. One of those things is wind power.
“I have a problem with wind,” the president-elect recently told the New York Times. “First of all, we don’t make the windmills in the United States. They’re made in Germany and Japan.”
Trump goes on to say how wind power doesn’t work without subsidies and how it “kills all the birds.”
All of these statements are false.
This week the Energy Information Administration said nearly half of all wind energy in the United States comes from turbines built by good ol’ General Electric.
Another third or so comes from Vestas. While Vestas is a Danish firm, the company has four manufacturing plants in Colorado. Nationwide, more than 88 percent of the wind capacity installed in 2015 used a turbine maker with at least one manufacturing center in the United States.
The wind industry as a whole has more than 500 manufacturing facilities in the country and supports more than 77,000 jobs — with ‘wind technician’ being one of the fastest growing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As for the other two claims — yes, wind turbines do kill birds. But the threat posed to birds by climate change is far greater, and it could result in one of every six bird species going extinct, according to the Audubon Society, which supports responsible wind power development.
On cost, the subsidies Trump likely refers to are being phased out. Already, new wind power plants can produce electricity cheaper than coal or natural gas, according to the investment bank Lazard.
Trump has talked about reviving American manufacturing, making the country energy independent, protecting clean air and water, and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. Building transmission lines to carry wind power from the plains to the cities, streamlining the permitting process and constructing robust port facilities to handle the construction of offshore wind farms are just a few of the steps he could take to make good on all those goals.
Steve Hargreaves and Courtney St. John write for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture. You can follow them at @shargrea and@CourtSaintJohn.