Jobs — Blowing in the wind

Made-in-the-USA wind power will help keep our economy competitive and our air clean for generations – that’s one key takeaway from the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Report, Year Ending 2015, published by the American Wind Energy Association…

…U.S. wind power now supports a record 88,000 well-paying American jobs. This reflects a 20% growth rate in jobs supported by wind power in 2015 alone.

Last year, you helped us achieve a long-term extension of the primary federal policy incentive for wind power. In doing so, you helped to spur this job growth, and make the future brighter for these employees, and others who aspire to join them. If we succeed in meeting our goal – taking our country to 20% wind power by the year 2030 – the workforce is estimated to grow to 380,000 employees.

How many wind power jobs are in your state? Take a look at the map, and share it with your elected officials.

Click to enlarge

Texas leads the nation with over 24,000 wind energy employees.

Wind project construction propelled Oklahoma to second place with more than 7,000 jobs.

Rounding out the top five are Iowa and Colorado with over 6,000 jobs, and after moving up 11 spots, Kansas ranks fifth with over 5,000 wind workers.

Maine gained the most in the state wind employment rankings, rising 16 spots.

No need for wind jokes about politicians and other fossil fuel industry pimps. Fact remains, folks fighting for renewable energy sources are winning and we need to keep up the pressure. The creeps whose profits and lifestyle are centuries behind their sell by-date won’t walk away just because they’re losing. They know American politicians can usually be counted on to go to the highest bidder. We have votes to offer. They have dollar$ to spend on election and re-election campaigns.

Same as it ever was – true. But, just as true, we are winning. Our voices and votes count.

Thanks, Mary Kate Francis

Here comes the next Congressional attack on your privacy

One Senator vows to filibuster this bipartisan assault on our privacy.

Ron WydenCraig Mitchelldyer

Legislators have published an official draft of a controversial new encryption bill, a measure seeking to compel company assistance in decrypting private communications in the wake of the San Bernardino case. Dubbed the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, the official text is slightly modified from the version that leaked last week, but contains many of the same provisions that had infuriated privacy activists last week, including a broad view of the information providers would be expected to turn over upon request.

So far, technology and privacy groups have been hostile to the bill, including the Software Alliance, the App Association, and the ITIF. The ACLU called the earlier draft “a clear threat to everyone’s privacy and security.” If the bill does pass, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has pledged a legal effort that would keep the measures “tied up in the courts for years.”

But the most vocal opposition has come from within Congress itself. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) went so far as to pledge a filibuster of the bill if it reaches the Senate floor. “This flawed bill would leave americans more vulnerable to stalkers, identity thieves, foreign hackers, and criminals,” Wyden said in an official statement. “And yet it will not make us safer from terrorists or other threats.”

…The bill’s authors made it clear they would not allow encryption systems to remain indifferent to government orders. “No entity or individual is above the law,” said Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA)…

For many a Democrat in the last 70 years, kissing any butt with a badge is considered a safe road to re-election. The tradition of a few Liberals like Senator Wyden barely survived the Reagan years. The rightwing Republican assault on anything to the Left of Attila the Hun was generally confronted with whimpering and self-defensive collaboration.

Wind power is rising in Colorado

Trainload of Vestas turbine bladesAndy Cross/Denver Post

Colorado wind power is rising with 1,880 huge turbines erected across the prairie, twisting white blades as long as soccer fields, a cleaner source of energy replacing fossil fuels.

It has reached the point where the wind turbines generated 67 percent of Xcel Energy’s Colorado-made electricity one morning in November and 54 percent for two 24-hour periods in October — feats unmatched around the nation, industry officials said Tuesday.

Falling costs, a state mandate, a federal subsidy and sheer momentum are driving the shift to renewable energy.

The proliferation of turbines here — doubling the number in 2009 — reflects a takeoff of wind power nationally that has cut carbon dioxide emissions by 132 million tons, American Wind Energy Association research director Michael Groggin said.

“That’s the equivalent of taking 28 million cars off the road, and this is going to help Colorado comply with the Clean Power Plan,” Groggin said.

Shifting from coal and gas to wind power “will help bring the United States into compliance with international climate change commitments. It will show that the U.S. can be a leader,” he said.

Long a backer of oil and gas extraction along the Front Range, Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday opened a national industry forum at a Vestas Americas turbine factory in Brighton — one of four Vestas plants in the state that employ 3,700 workers…

Colorado initially looked to natural gas as a bridge away from coal-fired electricity, but “wind is going to take an increasingly large share of that as well,” he said…

Xcel’s Colorado operations president David Eves…and Vestas Americas chief Chris Brown revealed a plan to build Colorado’s largest wind farm on the Eastern Plains…this project would add 300 more wind turbines and produce 600 megawatts of electricity.

Too many states are run by politicians like our governor Susana Martinez here in New Mexico. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Texas oil and gas producers. With enough Republicans in the current state legislature to clog up every sewer in northern New Mexico with their excuses – and a Public Regulatory Commission that earns Gold Stars from our “Public” Utility and demented old coal barons, we ain’t suffering from an overload of growth towards renewables.

But, hey, if we can light a big enough fire under Democrats with the biggest power base in the state – all that electoral potential just might nudge us into the mainstream of progress. I hope.