The Obama Administration has presided over the tripling of wind energy production in the US, with deeply-Republican states leading the way.
American wind energy output this year has increased to just under six percent of nationwide power generation, from just under two percent in 2009, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Wind power accounted for about a quarter of net energy production in three Red States, EIA said on Wednesday: Iowa (31 percent), South Dakota (25 percent) and Kansas (24 percent).
The agency noted that the Midwest and the Rocky Mountain states play host to blustery conditions ideal for the industry. Leading producers outside the corridor include Vermont (15 percent), Oregon (11 percent) and Maine (10 percent).
“Few other renewable fuels make up 10% or more of states’ electricity generation,” EIA said. It attributed the growth of wind energy to “a combination of technology and policy changes,” including a series of tax cuts and state-level policies.
Despite conservatives’ denial of climate science and their hardline support for fossil fuel industries, Republicans in the three leading states have proudly run on a pro-wind platform, and have backed wind energy producers.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), for example, who is up for re-election in November, recently cut an ad touting the state’s industry, citing the 31 percent number. The television spot also bragged of the sector creating 6,000 jobs in Iowa.
Grassley doesn’t make any remarks for the ad, but is seen smiling on top of wind turbine, at the end, wearing full safety gear.
“Sen. Grassley is literally the father of the modern wind industry,” former wind trade association executive Mike Garland said, in the campaign video.
Though Grassley has supported legislation that has helped finance wind investments, he has also adopted Republican dogma on climate science—a stance that has seen heavy push-back from Congressional conservatives on the development of cleaner energies.
In 2009, Grassley questioned “the extent to which [climate change is] manmade or natural,” and said that “California and New York…benefit financially” from efforts to cut back on emissions,” while claiming economic pain would be felt in the Midwest and South.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) has similarly backed some wind energy investments, on one hand, while peddling Republican pseudo-science on the other.
Thune’s mere acknowledgment, in Nov. 2014, that “human activity” is one of “a number of factors” contributing to global warming caused one Washington Post blogger to declare the policy shift a “glimmer of hope.” He had previously refused to even say, definitively, that anthropogenic climate change was real.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), meanwhile, was among 50 Republican Senators who last year refused to vote for an amendment declaring climate change “real and not a hoax.” He also backs investments in wind energy development simultaneously.
Kansas, Iowa, and South Dakota combined have only one Democrat in both houses of Congress, among nine Representatives and six Senators. About 90 percent of climate scientists believe that the planet is getting warmer as a result of a human activity, driven primarily by carbon emissions.