The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the United Steelworkers (USW) union on June 10 released a joint "Framework Agreement" to create a "Partnership for Progress" in accelerating the development and deployment of wind energy production in the United States.

Leo W. Gerard, USW international president, said, "The Framework Agreement we're announcing is the beginning of a road map to help ensure that our nation makes real progress in developing alternative and renewable sources of energy production on a scale that is commensurate with its vast potential. We expect this framework will help advance the promise of green jobs being key to our future. The nation cannot continue to fall behind other countries on clean energy manufacturing. America must be a global leader and establish new manufacturing jobs. If we do not act quickly on this opportunity through federal leadership and industry commitment, we will have done a disservice to our citizens. The Framework Agreement is designed to create a Partnership for Progress that doesn't accept second place, and instead, puts the U.S. at the leading edge of clean energy manufacturing."

Denise Bode, AWEA CEO, stated, "Our partnership recognizes that, at this time of continuing economic uncertainty and while we are still in the early stages of development of the wind energy sector, support in terms of public policy initiatives is vital."

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) joined in the announcement: "We can't replace our dependence on foreign oil with a dependence on Chinese-made wind turbines. It's critical that American manufacturers have the resources to develop and deploy wind energy components. Clean energy will help America regain its leadership in manufacturing. We need to ensure American workers and manufacturers are building the clean energy components that will be used around the world."

In the coming days, AWEA and the USW will release a cooperative action agenda they intend to jointly pursue and advocate for adoption by Congress and the Obama Administration. That agenda will include policies such as a federal Renewable Electricity Standard and the extension of necessary tax incentives.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York), added, "The Partnership for Progress is a good first step towards ensuring that American workers are at the core of clean energy development in this country. Only when we are relying on U.S. workers to manufacture the building blocks for renewable energy production can we put America firmly back on the road to prosperity."

The USW's Gerard expanded on the Framework Agreement by explaining it has four components. "First the agreement calls for an initial assessment of exactly where we are. On any journey, it's vital that you know where you're starting from. Second, it calls for results-oriented targets that identify the destination. Third, to get us from here to there, it creates a partnership on a public policy agenda with the goal of enhancing the expansion of domestic supply chains and ensuring that we have the qualified and skilled workers we need. During the journey, it lastly calls for periodic assessments to ensure that the effort stays on track."

AWEA's Bode emphasized, "Wind works for America. This framework represents the vast majority of the wind energy sector and is the first major player in the energy industry to clearly show its commitment to utilizing domestically located sources of supply. The American people expect and deserve to have their elected leaders support public policy initiatives that will ensure that all of our goals can be met together. Job creation and long-term economic growth in this sector require the support of a comprehensive public policy agenda. That public policy agenda will require some federal resources, but most importantly, it will require the national commitment to clean and green energy that is essential to the future of the industry. Our partnership will help achieve these goals."

Gerard said, "The Steelworkers recognize that a stable and secure financial climate allowing AWEA members to plan for the future, while getting the capital to achieve those plans, is a necessary ingredient to expanded utilization of domestic supply chains. USW members, as with all Americans, want to know that we will take every step necessary to create a plan for long-term economic growth. Short-term stimulus must be followed up by ensuring that we will be able to reclaim the American Dream."

The USW president explained, "The vision of AWEA's leadership, its board and its members has helped bring us to this point. The Partnership for Progress we have created with this Framework Agreement between AWEA and the Steelworkers can serve as a model for other industries. As our union and its members talk to their political leaders, they will urge not only support for the public policy agenda to fuel the development of the wind energy sector, but that with limited federal resources available to policymakers, priority be given to those sectors that recognize the challenges facing our nation."

A summary of the Framework Agreement is posted on the USW and AWEA Web sites.

AWEA is the national trade association of America's wind industry, with more than 2,300 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world's largest wind power trade show. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America.

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing 850,000 active workers employed in manufacturing, energy, public and the service sectors. It is the dominant union in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, oil, chemicals, cement and glass, but also represents professional and technical workers, nurses, pharmacists, hospital and municipal employees. The USW is a founding organization of the Blue Green Alliance and the Alliance of American Manufacturing.