by Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson
Wind Powering America Event
June 21, 1999
morning and thank you Randy for that introduction.
On Earth Day at the United Nations last April, I announced that the power
harnessed from the wind now exceeds 10,000 megawatts. Our work together
over the past two decades has contributed much toward reaching that milestone.
When you compare todays technology with that of the early 1980s,
it is clear how far weve come. In 1980, capturing the wind cost
about 40 cents per kilowatt hour. But thanks to our combined efforts,
it is now about a nickel. Thats real progress.
However, our job is not yet done. If wind is to remain the worlds
fastest growing energy source, our products have to be even more efficient.
We want tomorrows generators to produce power at half the cost of
todays machines. That is no small challenge, but this Administration
is committed to making that goal a reality. We are committed to supporting
high quality research and development, such as the National Wind Technology
Center in Boulder, Colorado, a world-class research facility.
And the Clinton/Gore Administration is taking the initiative in other
ways to make wind a permanent and growing presence in Americas energy
portfolio. The Presidents budget includes a proposal to extend the
wind power production credit, which is set to expire soon. And the Administrations
electricity restructuring bill includes a renewable portfolio standard
which requires electric suppliers to tap renewable sources for 7.5 percent
of the power they produce by 2010. The bill also would establish a public
benefits fund which would, among other things, support renewable energy
research and development.
While we had a setback last week when the Senate failed to support an
effort by Senator Jeffords to restore funding for the Department of Energys
renewable energy programs, the Administration remains committed
I remain committed to securing sufficient funding for renewable
For example, today I am proud to announce that the Department of Energy
will invest $1.2 million in 10 wind turbine testing projects in 10 different
states. The funding will be used to provide support for the design and
installation of new small wind turbines for field testing. One of these
projects will be in Maine, your neighbor down the road.
It is appropriate that we have this conference here in Vermont, a place
where wind energy entrepreneurs thrive. The pioneering Putnam
machine ran from 1941 to 1945 in Rutland. Until the 1970s it was the largest
wind turbine ever built. And some of the Department of Energys pioneering
work in turbine development was done right here in Vermont.
Today, this state is home to Atlantic Orient, one of our technology development
partners; Northern Power Systems and Green Mountain Energy Resources,
one of the nations leading green power providers.
And Vermont is home also to a congressional delegation that supports the
development of wind power and other renewable energy sources. Im
glad Senator Jeffords is here today, and I also want to thank Senator
Leahy and Representative Sanders for the work they do to support renewable
energy. They are true friends.
Today, I am pleased to make another announcement an initiative
called Wind Powering America -- that will dramatically increase the use
of wind energy in the United States. It will establish new sources of
income for American farmers, other rural landowners, and Native Americans,
while at the same time helping to meet the growing national demand for
Wind Powering America will double U.S. wind energy capacity by 2005, and
double it again by 2010 to create enough energy to fulfill the annual
energy needs of three million households. By 2020, we want wind energy
to be a major commercial power generation technology, helping supply the
nations electricity needs and leading the charge in the transition
to renewable energy.
Wind Powering America will play to the strengths of our nations
regions. Here in the Northeast, it will harness the winds power
while respecting the regions environmental and aesthetic values.
In the Great Plains, it will spur the rural economic vitality that often
follows wind power development. In the Northwest, well look at how
wind fits into the mix for a region with very competitive energy supplies.
And in the Southwest, we hope to build on the wind power market momentum
taking hold in Texas.
We cant tackle all four regions at once, but we can make a start
today. We look forward to your input as Dan Reicher, my Assistant Secretary
for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and his team work on the action
plan for Wind Powering America. The time is right for wind to assume its
proper role in our national energy supply.
Ill leave you with my best wishes for a productive conference and
my sincere hope that you will join us in Wind Powering America. Thank
you for having me here.