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kid reporter topanga mcbride in front of a wind turbine Kid Reporter Topanga McBride in front of a wind turbine blade at the Vestas Wind System plant in Windsor, Colorado. (Photo courtesy of Topanga McBride)

Colorado Tops in Wind Energy

Secretary of Energy visits wind turbine plant

By Topanga McBride | February 24 , 2010

Wind energy and job creation brought Washington officials to Windsor, Colorado recently. Weld County is ranked 9th in the U.S. in wind capacity. It is also one of the top places in the U.S. with natural gas and oil reserves.

That's why U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Representative Betsy Markey recently held the 2010 Energy Policy Forum in Windsor. The forum was held to talk about the Recovery Act and how the money it makes available nationally can be used to create jobs in renewable energy locally.

"Colorado has long been a leader of energy," said Markey. "The eastern plains of Colorado are home the best resources of wind energy."

The forum was held at Vestas Wind Systems, one of four wind turbine plants the company plans to build. When all four plants are complete, they will have created about 2,000 new jobs, Markey said.

kid reporter topanga mcbride with secretary of energy steven chu
Kid Reporter Topanga McBride and Vestas Senior Vice President Doug Macdonald at the Vestas plant in Windsor, Colorado. (Photo courtesy Topanga McBride)

Vestas produces wind turbines and blades for wind energy turbines. Vestas and two other Colorado companies—Advanced Energy and Abound Solar—have all benefited from tax credits offered under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"Wind energy could provide as much as 25 percent of our electricity [in the future]," Chu told the forum.

Wind energy will play a significant role in providing electricity in the U.S. in the near future, Doug Macdonald, a Senior Vice President at Vestas, told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. He said wind will be the most valuable of the renewable, or green, energy options available.

During a question and answer session, Chu was asked how to get Americans to support green energy.

"To get things going, we have to convince people and give them 20 to 30 years to adjust," Chu said. " We can't just lower the price (of energy sources)."

Despite the growth of such companies, the U.S. is behind countries like China, which spends around $9 billion a month on clean energy, Chu told forum attendees.

"I recently visited China, and I can tell you we're falling behind in the clean energy race," Chu said. "The leadership in China understands that climate change would be devastating to China and the world. We cannot lose out to the other countries."

For more on what the Department of Energy is doing with its allotted funds from the Recovery Act, check out the DOE website.

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