“The United States is currently importing about 70 percent 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 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.”
This is the conclusion of Winning the Race: How America Can Lead the Global Clean Energy Economy, a report released last week by the Apollo Alliance and Good Jobs First at a Washington, D.C. conference. The reports says that the U.S. must develop a domestic manufacturing sector capable of meeting the demands of the growing clean energy economy. Analysts say that this strategy is the key to ensuring that federal clean energy investments create quality, high-paying jobs in the United States rather than subsidizing jobs in foreign countries.
“The U.S. needs a comprehensive strategy, including safeguards to ensure that increased demand for renewable energy systems doesn’t simply create manufacturing jobs in low-wage havens,” said Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy.
Winning the Race analyzes the recipients of the Recovery Act’s Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (also known as 48C credits) and finds that, of the 90 companies that received 48C credits for wind and solar manufacturing projects in the United States, 23 have also been investing in similar production in countries such as China, India, Mexico and Malaysia.
The report recommends:
- 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 48C jobs end up being sent offshore.
- Enacting the “Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technologies (IMPACT) Act,” which would support small and mid-sized 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 would make onshore investment more attractive.