Growing the Green Economy Blog

The Answer Could Be Blowing In the Wind

Water Wind 1

Ever wonder why there is such hype about wind turbines?  For one, a typical wind turbine contains 250 tons of steel.  And a lot of the parts are in the same general industry groups as many auto parts.  Major new investment in wind farms (spurred in large part by federal tax incentives and state renewable energy portfolio standards) has the potential to create jobs in steel mills and manufacturing plants.

How many jobs depends on how many existing manufacturers can retool to meet industry needs, but Blue-Green Alliance predict creation of thousands of jobs per year over the next 10 years in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. [View REPP Solar Wind Summary Indiana]

Wind conferences across the Midwest include supply chain sessions laying out the basic needs of global energy companies seeking domestic suppliers.  Wind turbines require expensive, aerospace-precision parts as well as some parts requiring massive amounts of steel such as towers and mounting structures. Good state by state reports with pictures and industry codes for the various wind, solar, biomass and geothermal components can be found on the Renewable Energy Policy Project’s website.

Manufacturing councils or manufacturing partnerships in the Midwest have wind supply chain programs, such as those run by the Chicago Manufacturing Council (CMC) or the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC).  If you are in an area that doesn’t have a wind association or a manufacturing council, other Midwest organizations with wind supply chain experts include:

State energy offices, such as the Indiana Office of Energy Development , local economic development groups or private renewable energy companies,  can also help connect manufacturers with partners in the supply chain.