Mike Beebe: Wind Energy Important to Arkansas Jobs, Economy

Gov. Mike Beebe on Thursday said states should be doing whatever they can to push renewable, domestic wind energy, which is good for jobs, the environment and national security.

Beebe delivered the keynote address at the wind power supply chain workshop held by the American Wind Energy Association of Washington, D.C. The focus of the workshop, taking place Thursday at The Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, is the current state of wind energy.

In his speech, Beebe stressed his commitment to wind energy and said that Arkansas "has more eggs in the wind basket than anywhere else in terms of state public policy."

Beebe said that there are three considerations that make wind energy the best option for the state and the country: job creation, environmental considerations and national security considerations. He said that states should be doing what they can to push the wind agenda.

While Beebe recognized that Arkansas is not necessarily the best place for wind farms as compared to other places in the country, he said there are other ways for the state to get involved and benefit from wind energy.

"Even if we're not going to have the number of wind farms ... we can still be involved in manufacturing," he said.

The governor highlighted job creation the industry has brought to Arkansas, including in Jonesboro at Nordex USA's wind turbine manufacturing plant and in Fort Smith at Mitsubishi's wind turbine plant now under construction.

Beebe said wind energy ought to be at the top of the national conversation, and everyone should be aware of its benefits.

"If people don't get that, they're not listening," he said.

"We're going to do what we can in Arkansas," he said. "The rest of the country can lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way."