Obama Energy Policy Could Benefit the Panhandle Region - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Obama Energy Policy Could Benefit the Panhandle Region

James Wester, Amarillo wind energy expert James Wester, Amarillo wind energy expert
A.J. Swope, Executive Director of Class 4 Winds A.J. Swope, Executive Director of Class 4 Winds
Dr. Nolan Clark, USDA's Bushland Research Center Dr. Nolan Clark, USDA's Bushland Research Center

Politifact.com says the President has 510 campaign promises to keep.

And some of those will be felt right here in the Panhandle.

Amarillo is one of the windiest cities in America and that natural resources could play a big roll in the Obama Presidency, and the future of the Panhandle.

President Obama has pledged to use renewable energy as a spark for the nations economy.

And local experts say legislation is the key to jump starting the struggling wind industry.

"President Obama is trying to double renewable energy production for the next three years," said James Wester, an Amarillo wind energy expert.

Many people say the Panhandle could help reach that goal, if new power lines are built to harvest the wind.

"Scenarios of where Federal transmission lines would go, the Panhandle is one of the best places that could happen," said A.J. Swope, the Executive Director of Class 4 Winds.

"The Federal expansion would give us access to the western power grid and eastern power grid which would open up tremendous new markets for us," said Dr. Nolan Clark, the labratory director for the USDA's Bushland Research Center.

Many experts say if more transmission lines were build it would have a snowball affect into other industries.

But most importantly jobs.

"What we need to do is increase the manufacturing capabilities. That means building new plants," said Dr. Clark.

"Whether it's development, manufacturing, maintenance and upkeep, wind energy is going to keep the panhandle going. Well into the future," said Swope.

Thousands of wind turbines are already planned for the panhandle, but with new transmission lines, an industry already on the cusp of booming, could explode.

Doctor Clark says for every 10 wind turbines installed, it creates one new job.

So if the President's legislation is approved, hundreds of jobs could be coming to the Panhandle.

Not only helping the regional economy, but the entire nation's.

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