Monday, November 3, 2008

Manufacturing Wind

The NYTimes has an pretty long business story about traditional manufacturing areas turning to wind energy, including one factory town in Iowa that started manufacturing wind turbines after the Maytag plant closed.

From the story:

"No one believes that renewable energy can fully replace what has been lost on the American factory floor, where people with no college education have traditionally been able to finance middle-class lives. Many at Maytag earned $20 an hour in addition to health benefits. Mr. Versendaal now earns about $13 an hour.

Still, it’s a beginning in a sector of the economy that has been marked by wrenching endings, potentially a second chance for factory workers accustomed to layoffs and diminished aspirations."

In fact, one person quoted in the story calls wind energy the biggest ray of hope for the manufacturing industry.

The U.S. power grid can't accomodate all the energy that comes from wind power yet, but the good news is that, because wind turbines are as big and heavy as they are, the plants need to be close to the turbines' final destination. And that means jobs making those turbines probably won't be outsourced overseas.

“'I like this job more than I did Maytag,' Mr. Crady says. 'I feel I’m doing something to improve our country, rather than just building a washing machine.'”

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