Back in August, we wrote about a report by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) which found, among other things, that the "wind energy industry supports 75,000 full-time jobs at more than 400 facilities across 43 states.” Now, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy is out with a new study, this one focused on "the wind-rich Great Plains and Rocky Mountain Region," which takes this research to a more granular, but no less impressive, level of detail.
The findings of this work indicate that, on average, wind power installations within the study area and occurring between 2000 and 2008 resulted in an increase in total county-level personal income of approximately $11,000 per megawatt (MW). The median increase in total county-level personal income resulting from this sample of wind power installations was estimated to be 0.2% with a range of 0.03% and 0.9% at the 25th and 75th percentiles, respectively . On average, the impact of these same wind power installations on total county-level employment was 0.5 jobs per MW. The median increase in county-level employment was estimated at 0.4%, with an increase of 0.1% and 1.4% at the 25th and 75th percentiles, respectively.
As EarthTechling points out, although this study wasn't intended "as an analysis of the wind power production tax credit...it’s hard not to see the results as one more argument to keep the PTC alive: Wind power reaches right down to the local level as an economic engine, boosting incomes and jobs in the counties where turbines go up, according to a new study." We agree wholeheartedly, and urge Congress to renew the PTC as soon as possible.