Governor Chet Culver is calling for a more "coordinated" approach among the states and the federal government to promote the wind energy industry.
"We have great opportunities, but we need a coordinated game plan to really tap this country’s potential. It starts with the (power) grid," Culver says. "We need to build out the grid. We need a smart grid. We need to improve the grid if we really want to transmit the power."
Culver appeared on a panel late this morning with the governor’s of Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin as well as the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to discuss the future of wind energy.
"One thing that we have to do is make sure that this (federal economic) stimulus works, to make sure that the banks free up credit," Culver said. "I have heard from too many manufacturers that they are having a difficult time accessing credit."
According to Culver, there’s "urgency" because wind turbine manufacturers are having "some issues" in the current economic climate. Culver lamented the delay in extending a federal wind energy production tax credit.
"The delay in exending that credit slowed things down unnecessarily. It’s unfortunate that that happened," Culver said. "We finally got a three-year extention there. That should lend some confidence to the industry."
Culver is among 17,000 people who are attending the WINDPOWER 2009 conference in the "windy city" of Chicago. According to the governor, 2300 Iowans are working in nine manufacturing plants which are building the parts for wind turbines.
Click on the audio link below to listen to today’s panel discussion featuring the four Midwestern governors.