Making green technology in the US

As I noted in yesterday’s posting on the auto industry, policymakers are beginning to look seriously at the question of whether new green technologies will actually be produced in the US. For all the talk of “green jobs,” the stickiest of them are actually construction related – dealing with installation and retrofitting. These are not the highest-value added parts of the “green” value chain. Nor are green jobs necessarily even good jobs – as a new report from the Good Jobs First coalition – High Road or Low Road? Job Quality in the Green Economy.
We are likely to be hearing more and more about the issue of both US manufacturing and good jobs as the debate over an energy bill and climate change legislation continues. As the Wall Street Journal noted last month:

Congress is beginning to fear that the Obama administration’s push for renewable energy will produce more jobs in Asia and Europe — where most wind turbines and solar panels are made — than in the U.S.
The proposed remedy is a provision in the economic-stimulus bill that offers tax breaks to U.S. producers of the equipment.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D., N.M.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is urging support for a provision in the Senate version giving a 30% tax credit to companies that expand or build U.S. manufacturing facilities geared to renewable energy, clean transportation or electric-system upgrades.
“Several of us have come to recognize that we’ve outsourced the very things we’re going to need to change the nation’s energy mix, and this is a way of encouraging more manufacturing here at home,” Mr. Bingaman said.

That provision is in the final bill – Sec. 1302. Credit for Investment in Advanced Energy Facilities. It is a good step forward. I expect we will see additional steps in future legislation.

6 thoughts on “Making green technology in the US”

  1. According to a story today in Gizmag :

    One way of driving these costs [of solar energy] down is through the production of larger panels, enabling installation costs to be reduced. To this end, Solar Panel Manufacturer T-Solar Global S.A. has just announced that it has begun volume production of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) modules using a SunFab™ Thin Film Line supplied by Applied Materials, Inc. The solar panels, sized at 5.7m2 or 2.3m X 2.6m are the equivalent to the combined area of over six, 42 inch plasma TV’s. T-Solar says that these large panels are ideally suited for solar farm applications where installation costs can be reduced by about 20% over smaller scale panels.

    That production will take place in a new factory — in Ourense, Spain.

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  2. Reviving manufacturing

    This morning I heard distinguished speakers once again repeat a questionable statement: that green technology will save American manufacturing. Why do people think that the US is going to walk into the world market and outcompete everyone in a technolo…

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  3. Reviving manufacturing

    This morning I heard distinguished speakers once again repeat a questionable statement: that green technology will save American manufacturing. Why do people think that the US is going to walk into the world market and outcompete everyone in a technolo…

    Like

  4. Losing trade in green

    Earlier today, I mentioned the fact that our trade deficit in advanced technology goods stems from a failure of trade and innovation policy — not because we are less innovative. It is the result of an “invent it here; build…

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  5. Losing the race for CleanTech

    For some time, I have been asking the following question: Why do we assume that US will be the leader in the production of green technologies? Over the last couple of years I posted a number of items on how…

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  6. Green Manufacturing Tax Credit – and up front funding

    In a number of previous postings, I have referred to the program created by Senator Jeff Bingaman to provide tax credits for domestic clean energy technologies. In mid August, the Energy Department posted the notice of funds, with applications due…

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