The U.S. Secretary of Energy visited Cedar Rapids Wednesday, citing a plant there that makes wind turbines as an example of the alternative fuels the nation must develop. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman toured the new Clipper Windpower plant in southwest Cedar Rapids Wednesday afternoon.
“The turbines that are produced here are an indispensable part of the strategy that we have for the nation’s energy future,” Bodman said. By the end of the year, workers in the Cedar Rapids plant expect to produce one wind turbine per day. Bodman told plant workers that what they’re doing is helping secure the nation’s energy independence.
Bodman also praised other renewable fuels projects in Iowa, like the state’s ethanol and biodiesel plants. “There’s a real opportunity and the people of this state seem to have grabbed it and are doing very well by it,” Bodman said.
Bodman cited the “Liberty” turbine being produced at the Cedar Rapids plant as one of the most advanced wind turbines on the market. According to Tom Feiler, head of Clipper Windpower’s Midwest and Canadian development, Bodman’s agency gave the company grants and technical advice that led to production of the “Liberty” turbine.
“Just the fact that the Energy Secretary was here today in a turbine factory as opposed to standing in front of, say, a coal plant or a natural gas plant I think speaks volumes,” Feiler said. The Energy Secretary noted the upcoming one-year anniversary of the Energy Policy Act President Bush signed August 8th of last year. Bodman said the expanding use of wind power to electrify homes if reducing carbon dioxide emissions significantly.
President Bush has called for congress to allot about 44 million dollars for wind energy research in the coming year — a five million dollar increase over current spending levels.