Wind Lobby Scrambles To Hide Alleged Influence Of Foreign Companies

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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The American Wind Energy Association, the wind energy industry’s main lobbying group, touts wind power as helping the U.S. economy, but a news report claims the group’s advocacy is being driven by a group of foreign executives.

To make matters more interesting, AWEA removed its list of companies on its Leadership Council from its website — the Leadership Council was still missing from AWEA’s website when this reporter went to check on its status. AWEA refused to comment on the removal when approached by The Washington Free Beacon. Likewise, the wind lobbying group declined to comment on the removal when asked by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“All of the companies represented on AWEA’s Board are American companies or have U.S. subsidiaries,” David Ward, AWEA’s lead spokesman, told TheDCNF. “Like any global industry, some of those companies have parent companies that are active in other countries.

“That distinction is irrelevant as all companies on AWEA’s Board have major offices in America, employ large numbers of Americans, and are making large investments in America,” Ward said.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday the influence of AWEA’s foreign membership clashed with their “made-in-the-USA rhetoric.” The Free Beacon reported there were seven foreign firms listed on AWEA’s Leadership Council as of late 2013 — all of which get federal subsidies for wind power.

One of the companies listed in 2013 as part of AWEA’s leadership council was Iberdola, a Spanish company that’s been awarded billions in government subsidies over the years. The other companies are “Nordex and E.ON Climate & Renewables, both German companies; French EDF Renewable Energy; Portuguese EDP Renewables; a subsidiary of the British RES Group; and Danish firm Vestas,” according to The Free Beacon.

Iberdola has gotten $2.2 billion in green energy subsidies — making it the largest recipient of federal corporate welfare, according to a report by the left-wing group Good Jobs First. The Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus bill gave billions of dollars in subsidies to wind and solar companies.

The Good Jobs First report also notes that the German-based E.ON Climate & Renewables got $576 million in subsidies , the French company EDF Renewable Energy got $325 million and the Portuguese EDP Renewables received $722 million.

“[A] large portion of the funds received by the foreign energy firms came from Recovery Act programs such as Section 1603,” the report notes. “Japan’s Toshiba, on the other hand, received most of its funding through Energy Department research grants, including numerous awards to its Westinghouse Electric subsidiary for work on nuclear energy. Energy Department grants also make up nearly all of the $237 million in funds received by Germany’s Siemens.”

AWEA brushed off criticism of its foreign membership, saying the wind industry provides tens of thousands of jobs for Americans. Though the group still did not address its removal of the membership list from its website.

“73,000 Americans work in the wind industry, building wind projects that benefit American consumers,” Ward told TheDCNF. “That includes nearly 20,000 manufacturing jobs at over 500 facilities across 43 states. The domestic content of wind farms has risen, with more than 60 percent of the value of U.S. wind farms made in America.”

“The large number of jobs associated with installing, maintaining, and operating wind plants cannot be outsourced, and it is often cost-prohibitive to import large turbine components like blades and towers,” he said. “Wind turbine and component manufacturing is a significant contributor to U.S. heavy manufacturing.”

Update: AWEA told TheDCNF they got rid of their Leadership Council, but still keeps a n online list of their members. The group did not explain why they got rid or their Leadership Council or what influence they held over the group. The article has been updated to reflect this new information.

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