Gov. Jim Doyle met with the governors of three other Midwestern states at a Chicago conference Tuesday to discuss the development of wind energy throughout the region.

The meeting will feature more than 1,000 companies and representatives from 47 countries who will discuss the importance and development of wind energy both throughout America and the world, American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode said.

At the conference, Doyle met with Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Ohio Gov. Ed Strickland, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair John Wellinghoff and Bode to discuss the importance of wind energy as an alternative energy as well as business investments in energy throughout the Midwest.

Bode said recent poll data shows there is nationwide and bipartisan support for wind and other alternative energy sources across the nation.

In addition to the environmental benefits of wind and other renewable energy sources, new technologies also have economic benefits, Strickland said.

“We are on the verge of a major breakthrough in the way we power our country and the way our states are powered,” Strickland said. “Renewable energy means jobs. This is the movement of our time. It’s a national security issue, it’s an economic issue, it’s a job issue.”

In Wisconsin, Doyle cited a specific example regarding the development of a manufacturing company in Wisconsin Rapids set to manufacture parts for wind turbines to be used throughout the region.

“This is really what we were all talking about, and we hope it’s repeated hundreds and hundreds of times over,” Doyle said to reporters on a phone conference. “The Midwest can be much of the answer to America’s energy problem.”

Doyle also advocated the creation of national standards for alternative energy to help foster the creation of wind energy.

In Michigan, Granholm discussed the possibility of turning former auto manufacturing plants into manufacturing plants for wind turbines.

“Michigan is the poster child of the state that has lost manufacturing jobs. We want to replace (auto) manufacturing jobs with manufacturing jobs in wind, solar and other renewable and alternative energy solutions,” Granholm said. “The Midwest can go from the rust belt to the green belt.”

Wellinghoff advocated for the creation of national alternative energy regulations to help move the nation’s power grid off foreign oil and onto alternative energy.

Wellinghoff added increasing the amount of alternative energy in the country will help reduce energy costs for consumers throughout the country.

“It’s a step not only for jobs, but for stabilizing costs for consumers,” Wellinghoff said. “We need to diversify the energy mix. We must start building the grid on alternative energy.”

In Wisconsin, the Republican Party of Wisconsin is in favor of alterative energy as long as the solutions are market-based, spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said.

According to the WINDPOWER organization’s website, the event will attract more than 13,000 attendees and 776 exhibitions.