PPM Energy funds wind tech training to support industry growth
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October 18, 2007
PORTLAND, Ore. - To create new educational opportunities for the next generation of wind power technicians in this fast-growing industry, PPM Energy today announced $250,000 in support for innovative college training programs in Oregon and Iowa.
PPM Energy announced a three-year funding commitment for the Columbia Gorge Community College Renewable Energy Technician training program in Oregon and dedicated the new PPM Energy classroom at Iowa Lakes Community College Wind Energy and Turbine Technology program in Iowa.
Last April, PPM Energy announced a gift of $100,000 for a new classroom at the Iowa Lakes Estherville campus, the oldest wind technician training program in the country. Business leaders, faculty and students gathered at the campus today to celebrate the gift with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"PPM staff have worked with the Iowa Lakes program since its inception in 2004 on the school's advisory committee. When we learned that the school was turning away qualified applicants every year due to lack of classroom space, we wanted to help," said Kevin Devlin, vice president of wind operations for PPM Energy. "With PPM's aggressive growth plans - and each new wind farm needing skilled, safety-conscious workers - strong training programs are essential to meeting our future staffing needs."
"Last spring, PPM Energy announced a generous gift of $100,000 to the program which was a significant contribution toward a classroom being named after them. This gift helped propel us to be able to provide additional classroom space for this growing program," said Dr. Harold Prior, president of Iowa Lakes Community College.
In addition, PPM Energy committed $50,000 per year for three years to Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles, Ore., to assist in the development of its renewable energy training program, the first of its kind on the West Coast. The funds will be used primarily for faculty support. The college announced the gift locally and invited media to tour the campus earlier this week.
"Developing a program that offers the first and only wind technican training of its kind on the West Coast continues to be an exciting venture, and its success is due to our dedicated faculty and industry partners," said Dr. Susan Wolff, chief academic officer, Columbia Gorge Community College. "We are honored to be recognized by PPM Energy, the first renewable energy company to provide monetary support to the college to grow the program and help us admit more students."
Wind power is the fastest growing source of energy in the nation. The Pacific Northwest and the Midwest enjoy excellent wind resources, easy port access, available land and, in many locations, existing transmission facilities. PPM Energy is the second largest provider of wind power in the nation and part of the IBERDROLA group of companies, one of the largest providers of renewable energy in the world with over 6,800 megawatts currently in operation.
About PPM Energy
PPM Energy (www.ppmenergy.com), part of the IBERDROLA group of companies, had more than 1,760 megawatts (MW) of wind energy in operation (including 606 MW provided under power purchase agreements from third parties) as of June 30, 2007. PPM Energy balances its supply portfolio with sales to wholesale customers, placing almost all of its output in long-term contracts. Major customers include the cities of Seattle, Sacramento, Eugene, Pasadena and Anaheim, as well as investor-owned utilities such as Xcel Energy and Pacific Gas & Electric Company and the federal Bonneville Power Administration. PPM Energy also creates innovative new products to meet customer needs including operations and maintenance services, and recently announced an expansion of its wind development activities into Canada.
PPM Energy's rapid expansion has increased its need for talented individuals seeking challenging opportunities with a growing company. PPM currently has more than 450 employees and expects to hire additional employees in its operating facilities to staff new wind farm development projects during the next two years.
About Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College is a public, comprehensive educational institution accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. More than 73,000 people reside in this predominately rural five-county district encompassing approximately 2,900 square miles. www.iowalakes.edu
About Columbia Gorge Community College
Columbia Gorge Community College provides a quality, affordable education in an atmosphere of personal service. Classes and services are offered in a variety of formats to meet the needs of students. CGCC serves students seeking job training for a career, college transfer programs, basic skill development and personal enrichment courses. CGCC serves rural communities across a 10,000-square-mile service area in Oregon and Washington by providing training for regional employers and providing economic development opportunities. www.cgcc.cc.or.us