Harvest the Wind: America's Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence, and Climate Stability

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Beacon Press, 2012 - Business & Economics - 244 pages
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Winds sweeping across the Great Plains once robbed the Farm Belt of its future, stripping away overworked topsoil and creating the dreaded Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Today, those winds are bringing new hope to the declining rural communities of the central United States. Wind energy's time has arrived. Just as water-pumping windmills opened up the American West, a new generation of wind machines is fast propelling our nation toward a renewable energy future. Wind turbines with blades half the length of a football field are increasingly common sights, towering above Illinois corn fields and dotting the Kansas prairie. Farmers and ranchers are beginning to reap a stable source of income, rural Americans are finding new jobs, and the nation is starting to wean itself off the fossil fuels that pollute our air and unsettle the global climate. In this book, the author reveals the remarkable growth of a breakthrough technology and the formidable challenges it faces. He visits epicenters of anti-wind opposition as well as communities that have embraced wind farms as neighbors. And nowhere is wind's promise more palpable than in Cloud County, Kansas, home to the Meridian Way Wind Farm, whose turbines are boosting farm incomes and bringing green jobs to a community that has watched its children flock elsewhere. Modern wind power is the best thing to hit this stretch of midwestern prairie since the Union Pacific railroad. This corner of Kansas is the first stop on an odyssey that introduces readers to farmers, factory workers, biologists, and high-tech entrepreneurs, all players in a transformative industry that is taking hold across America and around the globe. The author guides readers through an Iowa turbine assembly plant that is struggling to compete in a global marketplace dominated by European and Chinese manufacturers. He looks at the thousands of miles that wind-generated power will need to travel to reach American consumers. The Obama administration has called for 80 percent of America's electricity to come from clean energy sources by 2035. Wind can supply much of that power, but only if the policies are right and the planning is smart. Farmers and ranchers, factory workers and crane operators, truckers and teachers are members of the new American wind energy workforce. In this book, the author introduces the people behind the green economy-powered resurgence in Cloud County and communities like it across the United States. The book is not an abstract treatises on global warming and green energy. By showing us how practical solutions are being implemented at the local level, it is a look at how we can all pursue a saner and more sustainable energy future.

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About the author (2012)

Philip Warburg was president of the Conservation Law Foundation, New England's leading environmental advocacy group, from 2003 to 2009. Earlier, he ran the Israel Union for Environmental Defense in Tel Aviv and was an attorney at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. He has also worked with governments and citizen groups on anti-pollution initiatives in Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, and across Eastern Europe.

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