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Ribbon-Cutting for Chesapeake College Wind Turbine

Wye Mills, MD

My goodness. Thank you all for coming out today. It is great to be on the Eastern Shore on any day. Some of the happiest days of my boyhood were spent here on sunny, bright days like this when the colors of the marshes and all the other beautiful spots on the Eastern Shore come alive. And those are some of the happiest days of my life, coming over here with my dad and my brothers and mucking around and chasing geese and enjoying everything that young souls come into contact with here, in this most beautiful part of the world.

I love coming over that bridge, I can feel the stress shed off the back of my neck. And it’s great to see so many of my fellow elected servants out here. I was the one who shouted from the back, “No name calling!” when the term “politician” was used.

We have former Delegate Dick Sossi here, representing Congressman Andy Harris. Delegate, good seeing you, sir. We also have Caroline County Commissioner Wilbur Levengood here with us. We also have Delegate Annie Eckerd – is here in the back. Delegate, good to see you. Queen Anne’s County Commissioner David Dunmeyer. And representing Senator Ben Cardin, Lee Whaley is with us. And also from Caroline County, my goodness – we almost have a quorum here – Larry Porter is here with us.

I want to thank all of you for coming out here this evening, and I want to thank Chesapeake College and the entire community that supports this great place. President Barbara Viniar, Barbara, thank you Madame President for your leadership and for your vision in making this happen. I would quibble with you on one score: I don’t think this is merely symbolic. The electricity this is generating is real. And every kilowatt we generate of clean renewable energy is an important kilowatt.

So I want to thank you Barbara, Madame President for your leadership. Vaughn Evans and the Board of Directors. Brennan McClean of Endurance Wind Power, thank you for making the trip here. And also Gary Sorrelle of Atech Energy. Gary thank you for not only building this on time, coming in under budget, but also bringing a $10,000 check for Barbara – that’s a wonderful thing. [Applause]

And really, all the companies and all the professionals who built the parts, installed the equipment, and are helping to move our State’s Innovation Economy forward.

Whether it’s through CLEEn – the Center for Leadership in Environmental Education – or through the turbine we’re here to celebrate and cut a ribbon under today, you are establishing Chesapeake College as a leader in clean energy. And I think it’s because you understand that whether it’s clean-tech or green-tech or whatever we want to call it – these are important endeavors, these are important pieces of what it’s going to take to expand jobs, create jobs, and to create more opportunity – not only in this generation but in the next generation. And that’s the great hope. That’s the great promise of Maryland’s Innovation Economy.

One of the words that gets thrown around a lot these days is “sustainability.” And farmers certainly understand sustainability. You’re raised to understand that how to treat the land is going to come back to you many fold. Sustainability is, in a nutshell, how we can figure out to becoming a renewing presence on this planet, rather than simply a depleting presence on this planet. And renewable energy is a big part of it.

And ironically, for all of the challenges that we face, all of the challenges that we face in terms of climate change and global challenges, those are also the very things that are driving job creation, that are driving innovation, that are inspiring states like ours and community colleges like this one to set the bar high. And yes, to pursue multiple competing hypotheses. We don’t know what the future will look like but we do know this: we’re going to need a mix of new and innovative technologies in order to meet the fuel needs of the future without causing the temperature to rise and the water table to rise.

So simply put, wind energy means jobs. Jobs like the 285 being supported by on-shore wind turbines spinning in Western Maryland. Jobs like the 2,000 construction, manufacturing and assembly jobs – and 400 permanent jobs – that we could create if we’re able to do off-shore wind because there’s even more renewable wind energy off the coast than there is here on the land.

Of all the challenges we face as a country, and of all the tough decisions we have to make together as a people, our top priority must be jobs. And one of the great ironies of these times is that the very immensity of the global challenges we face in regards to things like climate change, are driving job-creating innovations in states like ours.

But it is an economic and historic fact that for a modern economy to create jobs, modern investments are required.

So together, we are making a $75,000 investment in this turbine with Windswept grant funds secured through the Recovery and Reinvestment Act – that critically important piece of legislation that President Obama advanced and kept us from sinking into the second Great Depression. And in the energy field, we’re starting to see some significant signs of energy investments like this one coming up around our country.

And to make today possible, we provided Chesapeake College with what we call an ane… anemometer loan – I practiced that ten times in the car. [Laughter] An anemometer loan. What is an anemometer loan? It is a loan of equipment that tells you whether you have enough wind in a spot, running consistently enough that would support an investment like this. In other words, do you have an actual resource of wind coming in consistently enough so that you would recoup the cost by the energy that’s being generated.

All residences and businesses with at least one acre are eligible to apply for these sorts of loans, so that they can find whether your farm or your community college campus might have the wind resources sufficient to make this kind of investment. And you can do so through the Maryland Energy Administration’s website at energy.maryland.gov. Or if you’d like to shake the hand of a real live human being who works at your Maryland Energy Administration, we have Malcolm Woolf – you can talk to him about that. And we also have Brent Hare who is also here from the Maryland Energy Administration.

With wind energy, clean-tech and green-tech leading the way, Maryland is making progress in energy innovation and achieveing important goals.

And you know, we have set some of the more aggressive goals for decreasing energy consumption in our State by 15% by 2015.

We have raised our Renewable Portfolio Standard. That is to say, our goal is that by 2022 to be able to say that we are now, within all of our electricity consumption, 20% of it is generated by renewable sources –whether it’s waste energy, whether it’s solar, whether it’s wind.

We have led the charge for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation’s first cap-and-trade auction for greenhouse gas.

And we set an aggressive goal for decreasing our state’s carbon footprint, and wind is a part of all of that.

So in conclusion, to create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments. It also requires leadership. It also requires vision. And Barbara, I thank you for your leadership and your vision.

Our country rates #1 in the world in innovation. Our greatest challenges are not primarily financial, nor are they technological. They’re really a question of will.

I want to close with a certain multiple choice contest for you. Our nation’s motto is:

A. Eat Cake and Lose Weight.
B. Pay Less, Live Better.
C. In God We Trust.

C… of course, in God’s country, on the Eastern Shore.

In God We Trust that one person can make a difference. In God We Trust that each of us must try. And In God We Trust that the greatest privilege we have in our short time on this planet is to make the world a better place for the next generation. A place that’s cleaner, a place that’s healthier, a place where jobs and opportunities are expanding. And that’s what this Innovation Economy and these actions are really all about.

Thank you all so very, very much for your leadership.

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