Kansas BlueGreen Alliance Releases Wind Energy Report

The Kansas Blue Green Alliance, the Kansas Department of Commerce, Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Climate and Energy Project, and American Wind Energy Association have released a wind energy supply chain report.

The Kansas BlueGreen Alliance, the Kansas Department of Commerce, Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Climate and Energy Project, and American Wind Energy Association released a wind energy supply chain report. The report serves as a directory to help wind energy-related businesses research and contact each other.

The wind energy supply chain report released by the Kansas BlueGreen Alliance Wednesday was featured in articles from the Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Business Journal.

Manufacturers Ready to Serve Wind Industry Resulting in New Jobs

Wichita, KS – February 10, 2010:  Leaders from the Kansas BlueGreen Alliance announced the results of a Kansas Wind Energy Supply Chain Survey during a press conference held at the District 70 Machinists’ Union.

The survey was coordinated by a partnership of the Climate and Energy Project (CEP), Kansas Department of Commerce, Advanced Manufacturing Institute, BlueGreen Alliance and American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Over 200 companies from 49 Kansas counties completed the survey.

“Kansas is home to the best aerospace engineers, scientists, environmental specialists and technical  workers in the heartland, and the wind supply chain survey indicates we have a manufacturing base ready to serve the wind industry,” stated Bob Brewer, Midwest Director of SPEEA. “The transition towards renewable energy will involve both blue collar and white collar labor, leadership from government, and the technical skills SPEEA members possess. Engineers and technical workers play a strong role in the states aviation industry and SPEEA expects similar opportunities for the same workers to play a role in the wind supply chain. It is time to move from interest level to job creation.”

Leaders from labor unions, state agencies, and environmental organizations discussed the promising results: Kansas manufacturers are gearing up to build components and provide services for the wind industry. Wind is a fast growing sector of the Kansas economy, and several studies indicate the state has great potential to create green jobs.

Emil Ramirez of the United Steelworkers said that “Kansas has an opportunity to revitalize its manufacturing sector, create family-supporting jobs, and restore our environment, and the results of this survey need to be taken seriously.”

Some facts from the survey include:

  • About 27% reported they serve the wind industry already. The other 73% indicated keen interest.  Currently, these companies serve construction, automotive, agriculture, aerospace and aviation industries.
  • 66% of those currently serving the wind industry have planned future expansion projects – including increasing equipment, personnel, and facility size.
  • Firms interested in entering the market are currently collecting information and developing business plans to re-tool their shops.
  • The survey also explored barriers to entry into the wind industry.  Respondents indicated that workforce training in quality control, general mechanical systems, and airfoil composite repair were their greatest educational needs.

“Too often there is a misconception that a healthy environment comes at a cost to the economy.  This is not the case, and the results of the wind supply chain survey demonstrate that we can have both a healthy economy and a healthy environment,” added Stephanie Cole of the Sierra Club. “As Kansas gears up to produce clean, renewable power, thousands of jobs will be created in the process. As Kansans are put to work designing, manufacturing, and building the renewable energy technologies of tomorrow, we will begin reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and begin putting our state on track to establish a sustainable energy economy.”

“Kansas is located in the heart of the nation’s growing wind industry and offers an ideal location for wind turbine manufacturing,” said Nancy Jackson, Executive Director of the Climate and Energy Project. “Our central location and well-developed transportation infrastructure provide access to the region with the most active wind energy development. A utility-scale wind turbine contains approximately 8,000 different components and requires both manufacturers and service industry firms in the supply chain.”

About The Kansas BlueGreen Alliance
The Kansas BlueGreen Alliance is a state chapter of the national partnership of the United Steelworkers, Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club-two of North America’s largest private sector manufacturing unions and two of the nation’s largest environmental organizations. It promotes programs and policies that result in the development of the green economy.

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