President Barack Obama will visit a wind turbine factory in suburban Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon. During his visit, which follows his energy policy speech last week, the president will talk about energy security plans with workers at the Gamesa Wind Corp. in Fairless Hills.
The Gamesa plant is the only one of its kind on the East Coast. So it’s proved to be a popular spot for candidates and politicians looking to tout their “green credentials.”
Plant operators say would-be governors, senators, congressmen and congresswomen visit the factory two to three times a year. In fact, Obama visited the plant as a candidate in 2008.
It’s not easy reaching someone at Gamesa the day before a presidential visit. But late in the afternoon, Gamesa’s director of marketing David Rosenberg squeezed in a call to a reporter.
There’s “a multitude of organizations that you’re dealing with all simultaneously and it’s one thing after another,” said Rosenberg. “We’re actually enjoying this but we’ll be happy when it’s over.”
Obama has said he wants to cut oil imports by a third over the next decade. That means boosting domestic oil and gas production, as well as alternative sources such as solar and wind.
Tim Stephure, a wind power analyst with HIS, said recent development of domestic natural gas has made it a lot cheaper than wind energy. That means political support for wind power is essential.
“Subsidies such as production tax credits and treasury grants that are given to wind project developers, these are really key to help the industry move forward.” He said. “And when we see these incentives expire, it has a very negative impact on the market.”
Stephure said the Spanish-owned Gamesa is a major player in the wind power business. But he said the price has to be right for even the greenest consumers to choose wind.