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Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act--Motion to Proceed--Resumed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Massachusetts for generously yielding to me.


Mr. President, I am on the Senate floor today to continue urging this body to extend the production tax credit for wind. I intend to return to the floor every morning until the PTC has been extended, and I am going to talk about the economic and jobs effect on the nonextension in each State, and I am going to press my colleagues for an immediate extension.

Today I want to focus on a wind giant in our country--Texas. Texas leads the Nation in wind energy production. The Lone Star State has more turbines than all but five countries.

As you can see, this chart I have in the Chamber outlines all the installed wind projects in Texas. You can see that across the State--from the south to the west, from El Paso to Galveston, from the Panhandle to southern Texas--the wind industry has created thousands of jobs and it has helped boost the manufacturing and construction sectors with good-paying American jobs.

For example, Sweetwater, a town of 11,000 people, has become the new Spindletop: You drive past it on the interstate and there is a forest of giant wind turbines. Among the cotton fields of this west Texas rural community, Sweetwater is home to one of the largest wind farms in Texas. And the wind industry, using Sweetwater's open spaces, constant winds, and transmission capacity, has helped revitalize this rural community--and really all of Nolan County.

Even oil-rich Houston has become something of a wind power capital in Texas--thanks to developers such as EDP Renewables Pattern Energy, and Iberdrola Renewables, as well as BP and Shell.

They say everything is bigger in Texas--and that certainly applies when it comes to their vast energy resources. Texas has it all, from traditional sources, like oil and gas, to renewable energy, like hydro and wind.

Texas' success in harnessing wind energy is no accident. Thanks to smart State policies, including a renewable portfolio standard, which passed in 1999, and was later amended in 2005, as well as strong Federal support from the wind PTC, the Texas wind industry has grown dramatically.

Texas has an all-of-the-above energy strategy. The Senator from Massachusetts supports that kind of strategy. I support that kind of a strategy. Texas embodies this. They have shown great promise when it comes to renewable resources--growing and coexisting with traditional energy sources.

So if you look at what is happening in Texas, Texas' wind energy industry supports almost 7,000 jobs. With more energy from wind than any other State in our country, wind powers over 2.7 million Texas homes, and almost 7 percent of Texas' overall electric power comes from wind. It was the first State to reach 10,000 megawatts of wind installations, and that wind power has helped avoid greenhouse gas emissions in the equivalence of 3,725,500 passenger cars.

As well, the supply chain of the manufacturing opportunities in Texas stands out. It is home to wind turbine manufacturers such as DeWind and Alstom, five major tower manufacturers, blade manufacturer Molded Fiber Glass, and many component suppliers.

This is an example of why we have to act, why we have to extend the PTC. Without certainty, wind energy companies are not able to grow, and they, frankly, will shed jobs and whole projects.

In the Senate, we have a bipartisan coalition. Senators GRASSLEY, BOOZMAN, Scott Brown, HOEVEN, MORAN, and THUNE have engaged with many of us on this side to extend the wind PTC.

Let me end by quoting Karl Rove, who is known as a proud Texan and former senior adviser to President George W. Bush. He explains the wind PTC as follows:

It is a market mechanism, you don't get paid unless you produce the power, and we're not picking winners and losers, we're simply saying for some period of time we will provide this incentive.

Let's extend the PTC now. The solution is simple. We have to act. It will help American jobs. It will help the American economy. It will help our energy security efforts.

So, Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Massachusetts again, and I yield the floor.


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