February 20, 2009

Rep. Lujan Tours Wind Energy Facility, Discusses Recovery Plan

February 20, 2009 2:39 PM

Recovery Plan will Invest in Renewable Energy, Double Production, Create Renewable Energy Jobs

Washington, DC - Today, Rep. Ben Ray Luján toured the Mesalands Community College's North American Wind Research and Training Center with Jim Morgan (Director of Technology) and Tracy Rascoe (Wind Energy Director). Rep. Luján, a longtime supporter of renewable energy, discussed the possible benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for renewable energy production.

"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the largest investment in clean, renewable energy in history," said Luján. "It invests in new electric grids, new wind turbines, new solar panels, and cleaner cars. In New Mexico, we are already ahead of the game, ready to take advantage of these investments. Mesalands Community College's North American Wind Research and Training Center is already training students for jobs of the future in clean energy generation. Wind energy will be an important part of ending our dependence on foreign oil and creating good jobs. It is encouraging to see the work that Mesalands Community College is undertaking to make New Mexico a leader in training students in this emerging technology."

Mesalands Community College's North American Wind Research and Training Center is an industry-leading facility that is training students in New Mexico for jobs of the future. Across the country, new wind facilities are being built to generate clean energy, but the shortage of trained professionals is hindering the industry. Mesalands Community College's North American Wind Research and Training Center provides instruction in wind turbine technology, turbine maintenance, tower safety and wind economics - skills that will help prepare students in New Mexico for good jobs of the future. The program offers an Applied Science Certificate in Wind Energy Technology for completing one year of classes and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Wind Energy Technology for completing a two-year program.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján has long been an advocate for increasing renewable energy generation. He worked with the Governor and the state legislature to implement energy efficiency standards, net-metering rules, and a Renewable Portfolio Standard - one of the strongest in the nation. The Renewable Portfolio Standard will require utility companies to draw 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will make the largest investment in clean energy in our nation's history. With a goal of doubling renewable energy production and creating new jobs in clean energy, President Obama has made a strong commitment to the renewable energy industry.

Investments in Clean, Efficient, American Energy in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

  • Smart Grid/Advanced Battery Technology/Energy Efficiency
    • Provides more than $30 billion for energy initiatives such as a new, smart power grid, advanced battery technology, and energy efficiency measures-which will create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
    • Transforms the nation's electricity systems through the Smart Grid Investment Program to modernize the electricity grid to make it more efficient and reliable.
    • Supports U.S. development of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems through loans and grants, so that America can lead the world in transforming the way automobiles are powered.
    • Helps state and local governments make investments in innovative best practices to achieve greater energy efficiency and reduce energy usage.
    • Spurs energy efficiency and renewable energy research and development
  • Tax Incentives to Spur Energy Savings and Green Jobs
    • Provides $20 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency over the next 10 years.
    • Includes a 3-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for electricity derived from wind (through 2012) and for electricity derived from biomass, geothermal, hydropower, landfill gas, waste-to-energy, and marine facilities (through 2013).
    • Provides grants of up to 30 percent of the cost of building a new renewable energy facility to address current renewable energy credit market concerns.
    • Promotes energy-efficient investments in homes by extending and expanding tax credits through 2010 for purchases such as new furnaces, energy-efficient windows and doors, or insulation.
    • Provides a tax credit of up to $7,500 for families that purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles to spur the next generation of American cars.
    • Includes clean renewable energy bonds for state and local governments.
    • Establishes a new manufacturing investment tax credit for investment in advanced energy facilities, such as facilities that manufacture components for the production of renewable energy, advanced battery technology, and other innovative next-generation green technologies.
  • Landmark Energy Savings at Home
    • Provides $5 billion for landmark provisions to improve the energy efficiency of more than 1 million homes through weatherization.
    • This will save families on average $350 per year on their heating and air conditioning bills.
  • Repairing Public Housing and Making Key Energy Efficiency Retrofits to HUD-Assisted Housing
    • Provides more than $4 billion for increasing energy efficiency in federally-supported housing programs.
    • Specifically, establishes a new program to upgrade HUD-sponsored low-income housing (elderly, disabled, and Section 8) to increase energy efficiency-including new insulation, windows, and frames.
    • Also invests in energy efficiency upgrades for public housing-including new windows, furnaces, and insulation to improve living conditions for residents and lower the cost of operating these facilities.

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