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Report says U.S. could lose 250,000 clean energy manufacturing jobs

A new report from the Apollo Alliance and Good Jobs First says the United States must develop a domestic manufacturing capability to meet the growing demand for clean energy components and systems, or lose the race to lead that sector of the global economy, and the jobs that go with it.

The report, "Winning the Race: How America can lead the global clean energy economy," was released on March 4, 2010 at a Washington, DC conference. "The United States is currently importing about 70% of its renewable energy systems and components," said Phil Angelides, chairman of the Apollo Alliance. "If that trend continues, we stand to lose out on an estimated 100,000 clean energy manufacturing jobs by 2015, and nearly 250,000 by 2030. This country needs a comprehensive clean-energy economic development strategy so we can ensure that jobs being created in the clean energy sector stay in America."

The chief task, says the report, is to ensure that growth in the clean energy sector in other countries, particularly low-wage zones such as China, is not indirectly subsidized by the U.S. China is already a strong competitor in the global clean energy field.

Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, called for a comprehensive U.S. strategy that safeguards against the demand for renewable energy systems creating manufacturing jobs in low-wage areas. The report says the first step is to expand and stabilize the market by passing comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. Domestic clean energy manufacturing then can be expanded by:

  • Increasing the Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit by $5 billion, as the president proposed in his FY2011 budget, but adding "clawback" provisions that would enable the federal government to recoup the tax credits if jobs are sent offshore.
  • Enacting the Investments for Manufacturing Progress & Clean Technologies (IMPACT) Act, which would support small and midsized manufacturers by providing capital for investments in energy efficiency and for retooling and expanding into the clean energy supply chain.
  • Investing in the creation of a well-trained workforce that meets the needs of U.S. clean energy manufacturers and makes onshore investment more attractive.

The full report is available for download at www.apolloalliance.org and at www.goodjobsfirst.org.

TAGS: Business
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