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Wind-energy developer Tom Carnahan, brother of pols, will join Biden in Jefferson City

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 15, 2009 - Tom Carnahan, the youngest adult member of Missouri's most prominent Democratic family and founder of St. Louis-based Wind Capital Group, will be among the wind-energy executives on hand Thursday in Jefferson City to greet Vice President Joseph Biden -- and announce their 2,500-job wind farm development.

According to a statement issued by the Wind Capital Group:

"The 150-megawatt (MW) Lost Creek Wind Farm will be located in DeKalb County, Missouri, and will be developed by WCG, which is based in St. Louis. GE Energy will supply 100 of its 1.5MW wind turbines; ABB will supply 100 electric transformers, which will be made by UAW employees at its Jefferson City facility; and AECI will purchase all the electricity generated at Lost Creek, providing a firm customer base of electric cooperative members and its strong high-voltage transmission system to make wind power in Missouri a viable energy resource.

The development will be the fourth Missouri wind farm "developed through a partnership between AECI and Wind Capital Group that harvests the wind energy in our cooperative service area and invests in our rural communities,” said Jim Jura, AECI's chief executive. 

The partnership credits the federal stimulus package, which it says in the statement "included several provisions that encouraged the development of wind energy projects like Lost Creek. Key among these provisions is the extension of the federal production tax credit (PTC), which would have otherwise expired, providing an incentive to construct wind energy projects in 2009 and 2010."

The package also set up "a new, temporary Department of Energy loan guarantee for renewable energy, which has provided better access to lending markets for wind energy providers,'' the statement added.

Tom Carnahan is the youngest brother of Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, and among the few family members who has never run for office.

Wind Capital Group spokesman Tony Wyche (who's also Robin Carnahan's campaign pokesman) said that Biden will be on hand "to talk about renewable energy,'' not politics.

Tom Carnahan's success as Missouri's "only wind developer in the state'' makes it a natural that he should join Biden during his Jefferson City visit, Wyche added.

The Wind Capital Group also has attracted in some other familiar political faces, including Don Foley, former top aide to former U.S. Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, D-St. Louis.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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