New wind campaign targets Trump

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2017

A wind advocacy group is launching a seven-figure ad campaign in Washington, D.C., to target federal officials weighing budget cuts and policies that could harm the industry.

The “True American Power” campaign from American Wind Action — which formed last year — is designed to “educate” Trump officials and members of Congress about the economic and job benefits of wind. The multimonth push will include TV, radio and digital video ads on shows such as “Fox & Friends,” the group said.

The ads focus heavily on job creation in middle America, showing workers in places like Newton, Iowa.

“A lot of people don’t know that wind energy employs more people than other sources of energy,” says one wind blade manufacturer in a 60-second spot, noting that a wind facility is now the biggest employer in his county. The group highlighted that the fastest-growing American job is wind turbine technician, according to the Department of Labor.

It’s the first campaign in the Washington area for the group, which previously ran ads in other states. American Wind Action’s board of directors includes Sam Enfield, principal of Windline Development LLC; Jeff Clark, executive director of the Wind Coalition in Texas; and Jim Reilly, senior vice president at the American Wind Energy Association (E&E News PM, June 28, 2016).

As a 501(c)(4) organization, the group can engage in lobbying and other political activities, although the majority of its money is supposed to be dedicated to “social welfare” under existing law.

The campaign comes as the Trump administration is proposing steep cuts at the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, including a 63 percent cut to the office’s wind energy program. DOE is also conducting a study on grid reliability that some view as a potential attack on the wind production tax credit (Greenwire, May 9).

Trump has made negative comments about wind in the past, including labeling turbines as unsightly and a threat to birds.

The announcement came on the same day the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that March was the first time that U.S. monthly electricity generation from wind and solar exceeded 10 percent.