February 13, 2017
The Honorable Donald J. Trump President of the United States The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
As the governors of Rhode Island and Kansas and the chair and vice chair of the Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition — a bipartisan group of the nation’s governors representing states from coast to coast — we look forward to working with you to strengthen America’s energy future. The Coalition’s twenty member-states are home to hundreds of wind and solar energy facilities that employ hundreds of thousands of Americans and contribute significantly to each state’s economy, and the nation’s at large.
The growth of the renewable energy industry is an American success story built on federal research and development, state policy leadership, private sector investment, and ingenuity. A new chapter of that story began last year when our country’s first offshore wind facility went into service in the waters of Rhode Island.
The nation’s wind and solar energy resources are transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the passage of the Homestead Act over 150 years ago. For example, U.S. wind facilities pay rural landowners $222 million a year, with more than $156 million going to landowners in areas with below-average incomes. In addition, $100 billion has been invested by companies in low-income counties, where some 70 percent of the nation’s wind farms are located 1 .
Last year, the country’s solar industry employed over 200,000 and added 31,000 new jobs. Most of the installations are in rural areas and have provided landowners another income option. Further, the United States added a record 4,143 GW of new solar in the third quarter of 2016 2 . Wind energy currently generates nearly 25 percent of Kansas’s electricity, 35 percent of Iowa’s electricity, and five percent of the entire nation’s electricity.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo
Chair Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback Vice Chair
2200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 102-22 Arlington, Virginia 22201-3324
Phone 402 651-2948
1 Wind power pays $222 million a year to rural landowners, American Wind Energy Association, March 2, 2016; Wind Is the New Corn for Struggling Farmers, Bloomberg News, October 26, 2016. 2 National Solar Job Census, The Solar Foundation, 2016.