Washington's top wind energy lobbyists talks about support for renewables in Congress, oil, coal, and China
In December Congress extended tax grants for renewables. What's your top goal this year?
We need a federal renewable electricity standard that requires utilities to get a greater share of their supplies from clean energy. We're after renewable energy targets that would diversify sources of power.
How will the Republican takeover of the House change your tactics?
It's an opportunity to reach out to new members of Congress and educate them about the benefits of wind. We have to show each member how wind affects their state. There are wind industry jobs in 46 states.
Why should the government favor wind over other technologies?
We're competing with a fossil industry that's been getting incentives for over 100 years. We want a level playing field. The fossil industry gets over five times the tax incentives that renewables do. We want policies that ensure that the costs of waste, use of water, carbon emissions, mercury, and all that get considered.
How did China topple the U.S. as the world's largest wind power market last year?
I'm disappointed that they overtook us. It's because they have a policy to promote wind. We're the only major country that doesn't have a cohesive energy policy [to boost its domestic industry]. Because of the size of the equipment, wind turbine manufacturers tend to build where they see demand. We're not for protectionism. We just want to make sure the market is truly free and fair.