PORTLAND, Ore., August 24, 2018 — The American Wind Energy Association named Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) a U.S. Wind Champion for the 115th Congress at an event hosted by Renewable Northwest with EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA), a renewable energy company and employer in the Portland area, Gilliam County, and Union County. AWEA is presenting U.S. Wind Champion Awards to select members of Congress who have taken action in support of American wind energy. The award ceremony comes after American Wind Week, August 5-11, a national celebration of U.S. leadership in wind power.
“I’m honored by this recognition from the American Wind Energy Association,” Merkley said. “Wind energy is essential for a clean energy future—for the good of our economy and the good of our planet. When I see the spinning blades of a wind turbine, I see a powerful path for ending carbon pollution. I’ll continue to do everything I can as a federal partner to develop and expand renewable energy in Oregon and across the nation.”
“Senator Merkley has been a leader in promoting renewable energy and a decarbonized electricity grid,” said Nicole Hughes, Executive Director, Renewable Northwest. “His efforts have been realized in the northwest and particularly in Oregon where we have been very successful in establishing a robust renewable energy market. Renewable Northwest looks forward to continued collaboration with the Senator to broaden the market opportunities for renewables.”
“As a leading wind energy company in the United States, EDP Renewables applauds Senator Merkley’s tireless leadership in advancing clean energy in the country,” said Miguel Prado, EDP Renewables North America CEO. “Thanks to champions like Senator Merkley, EDP Renewables has paid workers, landowning families, local governments, and businesses more than $1.7 billion dollars in the state of Oregon.”
“Senator Merkley has been a strong supporter for the American wind worker and clean energy,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “He has been a bridge builder, helping to find common ground so that groups like wind workers, the military, and environment stewards could all enjoy wind’s benefits. It is fitting that his home state of Oregon has benefitted from wind with over $6.6 billion in private capital investments and over 1.5 million fewer tons of carbon emissions per year.”
In 2017, wind provided over 11 percent of Oregon’s in-state electricity production—enough to power 604,600 average homes. And an investment in wind is an investment in well-paying jobs, with nearly 3,000 in Oregon. Wind power has also become a new cash crop for the state, with total land lease payments to farmers and ranchers between $5-10 million each year.
Earlier this month marked the second annual celebration of American Wind Week, following the emergence of wind as America’s largest source of renewable energy capacity in 2017. The U.S. is a global leader in wind power thanks to world-class natural resources and technological innovation. American wind power creates economic opportunity, homegrown energy, and clean air. A record 105,000 Americans across all 50 states work in wind, and wind affordably and reliably supplies over 6 percent of U.S. electricity, creating clean air benefits worth more than $8 billion each year.
Photos of Senator Merkley receiving the U.S. Wind Champion Award.