With the dust still settling, the US wind industry is awakening to election results that are just about good enough.
President Barack Obama, the country’s most wind-friendly president ever, was re-elected yesterday albeit only with a 50-49% margin that some said gives him a scant mandate.
But he won key “battleground” states including those where the wind industry has a strong supply chain– Ohio and Michigan–and where wind jobs became a campaign issue – Colorado and Iowa.
In his victory speech, Obama said: “We want our children to live in an America … that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”
His words will give hope to the wind industry that he will stick to his word and concentrate on climate change in his second and final term, a time when a president often concentrates on longer-term issues.
Eileen Claussen, president of the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions, said: “With the election behind him and [Hurricane] Sandy’s full impact still mounting, President Obama has an opportunity and an obligation to press the case for stronger climate action.”
Congress, where most seats were in play, appears little changed and could still tend towards gridlock, although many votes remain uncounted.
But in exit polls, almost six in ten voters said that the economy trumped other issues.
According to Peter Kelley, vice president of public affairs of the American Wind Energy Association, wind’s strongest advocates in both parties fared well.
He said: “We’re going to put our heads together to make sure the US wind industry makes the contribution we’re capable of to America’s energy future.”
“Now [it’s] up to Congress, in the lame duck session that will start as early as next week, when we need to get the production tax credit for wind energy extended or risk losing 37,000 American jobs by early next year.”
However, Michigan voters have almost certainly resoundingly rejected Proposition 3, which would have amended the state constitution to make utilities source 25% of electricity from renewables by 2025.
With 41% of the results counted, 64% of voters opposed the groundbreaking initiative and 36% were in favour, said the Detroit Free Press.