President Obama Highlights Clean energy Projects

May 10, 2010

President Obama made a push for renewables at a wind turbine plant in Iowa and an ethanol plant in Missouri, telling crowds that “a clean energy economy will lead the 21st Century economy.”

Speaking in Fort Madison, Iowa, at the Siemens Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing Plant, which received $3.5 million in tax credits through the Recovery Act, Obama highlighted how investments in clean energy projects can help revitalize local economies.

“…[T]his facility took advantage of that act's Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit—which allowed you to add equipment, boost output, and hire new workers right here in Fort Madison," the president said.

Siemens makes the blades for 2.3-megawatt wind turbines, which are approximately half the length of a football field and weigh 12 tons.The 600,000-square foot plant is three years old and was built on the site of a closed tractor-trailer manufacturing business, which employed about 250 people.

 “It was remarkable, made all the more so when you consider that just a few short years ago, this facility sat dark and quiet,” President Obama said after touring the plant. “Today, it’s alive and humming with more than 600 employees, almost two-thirds of whom found themselves unemployed before landing here.”

The president then traveled to Macon, Mo., to visit the POET Biorefinery facility.  Built in 2000, the plant turns 16 million bushels of corn into 46 million gallons of ethanol every year.  The location is one of 26 POET plants in the country. "

There shouldn't be any doubt that renewable, home-grown fuels are a key part of our strategy for a clean energy future, a future of new industries, new jobs in towns like Macon, and new independence,” Obama said.

The president toured both plants as part of the White House to Main Street tour.

Meanwhile, in Boston, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the approval of the construction of a long-debated wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass.  Horseshoe Shoals, the proposed site of the wind farm, is part of Nantucket Sound and located in federal waters.

The same day Obama toured the ethanol plant, Salazar announced the Cape Wind project, a 130-turbine wind farm that is expected to generate around 1.5 million MW-hours of electricity per year, or enough to supply about 230,000 homes.  Carbon emissions could be cut by the equivalent of 175,000 cars, Salazar said.

Salazar said the project’s construction could create 1,000 jobs.

“Cape Wind will be the United States’ first off-shore wind farm, supplying clean power to homes and businesses in Massachusetts, while creating good jobs here in America,” Salazar said at a press conference. “This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast, which I expect will come online in the years ahead as we build a new energy future for our country.”