Lecturer promotes renewable energy
The head of communications at a leading world-wide company producing wind turbines spoke about the future of renewable energy in Arkansas and across the country Jan. 23, at the Clinton School for Public Service’s Sturgis Hall.
Naomi Lovinger of Nordex, the company that opened a wind turbine plant in Jonesboro in October 2010, focused her lecture on political and economic landscapes, often centering on the need for renewable energy to play a larger role in America’s future. Lovinger emphasized the broad-based support that exists for wind energy, in particular, regardless of Americans’ stance politics and party affiliation.
“The business we’re in is popular,” Lovinger said. “Eighty-three percent of American voters want wind energy as a major provider of the country’s energy supply. Ninety-three percent of Democrats, 72 percent Republicans and 81 percent of independents agree as well.”
She said there is a frustration felt by people at Nordex, a German company, as well as at American-based companies that reflects a consensus regarding political gridlock, and how it relates to how the legislative process affecting the future advancement of more diverse energy resources.
“Our primary policy question remains whether we continue to do the same old thing, or whether we decide to prepare for the future,” she said. “Security demands robust, diverse energy. So does our economy.”
Implicit in any attempt to diversify America’s energy portfolio is the need to restructure part of the nation’s tax code, she explained; the current structure of which provides substantial incentives toward the fossil fuel industry.
“The fossil fuel industry receives support five times greater than that extended to renewables in the contemporary U.S. tax code,” she said. “This reveals itself through targeted subsidization and loopholes which are not considerate of the future.”
Lovinger said that without fossil- fuels the United States would not be in the position it is in today. But, she said, the nature of climate change mandates that discussion involving wind energy should be more commonplace and significant.`
“The decision regarding wind energy as a primary source of energy is the same decision as selecting an energy policy which addresses long-term scenarios or simply satisfies the short term,” she said. “Politicians like to talk about all of the above scenarios. Unfortunately, these approaches too often mandate incremental changes which are difficult to consider as serious.”
Lovinger replaced Ralph Sigrist, chief executive officer and president of Nordex USA, as the speaker due to illness.