400 Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
- Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
- Local 202.783.3870
The $800 billion plus stimulus package passed back in 2009 had huge implications for the wind industry. Under the section 1603 program, 75 wind farms across the country received over $4.4 billion worth of federal grants.
It turns out that 54 percent or $2.38 billion of these federal grants went to developers overseas. Of the 4,232 turbines constructed here in the US, 2,760 or 65.2 percent were built by foreign manufactures many of which were located in China.
Not only Republicans, but Democrats as well have complained about this issue. Sens. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jon Tester (Mont.) attempted to halt the funding to foreign manufactories but the Obama administration wouldn’t have it.
These four Democratic Senators were especially concerned with Cielo Wind Power of Austin, which applied for $450 million in stimulus funding for a massive wind farm that would be run and powered by turbines built in China. Senator Harry Reid (Nev.) helped this Chinese firm receive the stimulus funding as his campaign received thousands of dollars in donations from the wind farm’s backers.
Senator Schumer told the Washington Post “It is a no-brainer that stimulus funds should only go to projects that create jobs in the United States rather than overseas.” The problem with domestic wind energy however, is that the wind turbine manufacturing industry is much stronger overseas than in the United States.
It would seem that Obama’s stimulus package is creating more foreign jobs than domestic ones. The question of whether the government should pick winners and losers in our economy is a separate one that has been addressed in other blogs. I think we can all agree Republicans and Democrats alike, that American taxpayer money should not be used to subsidize foreign businesses.
Senator Schumer seems to understand this:
In all due respect I remind the secretary (of energy) there is a four-letter word associated with the stimulus -- J-O-B-S," Schumer said. "Very few jobs here, lots of jobs in China. That is not what I intended or any other legislator who voted for the stimulus intended. ... It is fine that the Chinese make them. But why don’t we use the stimulus money to start building up an industry to build them here, that was the very point of the stimulus.