Wind energy group gets in on 2016 fight

Source: By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Wind energy industry leaders have formed a new political group to promote the power source and back candidates ahead of this November’s elections.

The American Wind Action (AWA) groupnwill “focus on ensuring that the public understand the importance of wind to energy policy,” the group said in a statement, and “also help elect candidates who are strong advocates for wind, and work to defeat candidates who oppose wind energy with a leading-edge grassroots effort in the 2016 campaign.”

Three industry officials — Windline Development principal Sam Enfield, The Wind Coalition executive director Jeff Clark and Jim Reilly, a senior vice president at the American Wind Energy Association — will sit on the group’s board of directors. AWA said it as an “inceptive seven-figure budget” that will make up its early political and advocacy work.

“We will be working to identify and activate supporters of wind energy to encourage action from their elected officials, and we will educate the public about the actions and positions those officials take on wind energy,” Enfield and Clark said in a statement.

“The importance of wind as an energy source for America cannot be overstated, and we’re proud to push the discussion on wind energy forward by launching AWA today.”

Wind has been a growing source of renewable energy in the United States, adding the most electric generation capacity in the country in 2015, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

The industry has congressional backers on both sides of the aisle, especially among environmentalists and members from wind power-producing states.

Even so, the industry has had to fight for extensions of a wind energy tax credit on Capitol Hill, where some Republicans consider the tax break unnecessary to helping an industry that is growing already on its own.