Quality Magazine

Report Shows Green Technologies Will Revitalize U.S. Manufacturing

November 5, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.- With the U.S. having lost more than two million manufacturing jobs since the beginning of this recession, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown joined the Blue Green Alliance to discuss policy recommendations made in a new report aimed at creating hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs through development of a clean energy economy in the United States.

The recommendations included in a report by the Blue Green Alliance, Building a Clean Energy Assembly Line: How Renewable Energy Can Revitalize U.S. Manufacturing and the American Middle Class, outline policies for market building, market reforms, financing, innovation and capacity building to create clean energy jobs. According to the report, renewable energy technologies provide three to six times as many jobs as equivalent investments in fossil fuels when manufacturing, installation, operation and maintenance jobs are taken into account.

"Clean energy can revitalize U.S. manufacturing, and Ohio companies will lead the way in building the technology of the 21st century," Brown says. "Clean energy technology utilizes many of the same components manufactured for the auto industry. Done right, clean energy policy will create new demand for Ohio manufacturing. By utilizing our state's skilled workforce and longstanding auto component supply chain, we can make Ohio the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy Manufacturing."

The analysis builds on a report earlier this year by BGA and the Renewable Energy Policy Project that estimated more than 850,000 manufacturing jobs could be created across the United States, and more than 42,000 existing manufacturers could experience growth based on a demand for parts, with the enactment of a federal Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) of 25% by 2025.

"Renewable energy, and the green jobs that come along with it, are key to our economic growth," said Michael Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America. "It is essential that in order to lead the world in renewable energy technologies, and create good jobs that support our families and communities, we must look at ways to rebuild and revitalize American manufacturing."

Central to these market building recommendations is enacting a federal RES, robust allocation of allowances to promote renewable electricity deployment, state-level feed-in tariffs, an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard and extending the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. With regard to market reforms, recommendations include passing comprehensive federal legislation that caps carbon emissions economy-wide and addresses regional disparities and carbon leakage, and includes an emphasis on domestic manufacturing.

Critical financing tools include revolving loan funds, like those included in Senator Brown's IMPACT Act, and zero-interest Clean Renewable Energy Bonds. Finally, increased investments in government research and development, and expanding the U.S. Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership, are key to this strategy for building a clean energy assembly line in the United States. "Our climate change policies must include measures to strengthen the market for clean energy technologies," says Robert Gramlich of the American Wind Energy Association. "Central to our strategy to both create jobs and reduce carbon emissions is developing and producing clean energy technologies in the United States, and a strong, federal RES will help us to do that."

The report was developed using research compiled by the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP). A full copy can be found at www.bluegreenalliance.org.

"A robust manufacturing title in the Senate legislation will ensure that strengthening and revitalizing America's manufacturing base is a priority," says David Foster, eecutive drector of the Blue Green Alliance. "We can create whole new industries and put America in the driver's seat for the global clean energy economy."