In Ohio, Iowa and Colorado, clean energy markets drive economic growth. Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF’s) new Clean Energy Economic Development Serieshighlights the successful road map for each of these states. These road maps share a formula for success, where policy and economic development actions work together across three fronts: (1) stimulating demand for clean energy products and services, (2) seeding innovation in clean energy solutions and (3) recruiting and supporting new firms, jobs and workforce skills in clean energy.
- Ohio experienced record investment and merger and acquisition deals in clean energy in 2010 and 2011. Ohio also significantly increased patent in batteries, fuel cells and wind technologies, moving up in national rankings in all three areas.
- The Metro Denver region alone had about 1500 companies and 18,000 workers in the cleantech sector in 2011, and achieved a 35% increase in direct employment growth since 2006.
- Iowa leads with the second highest installed wind capacity in the nation and is one of only two states that receive over 20% of electricity from wind power. According to the American Wind Energy Association, Iowa has attracted more major wind industry manufacturers than any other state.
Clean energy policy embedded in the American Taxpayers Relief Act (ATRA) provides critical federal support for stimulating demand for clean energy products and services, the first area examined in each report. “Creating customers is an essential first step to creating new jobs,” said Jackie Roberts, Director of Sustainable Technologies for Environmental Defense Fund. “We’ve seen some states create terrific job training programs, but no market demand to actually help companies grow and start hiring. States need to do both, and support innovation. The good news is that every state developing a clean energy sector will benefit from the American Taxpayers Relief Act.”
The ATRA extends the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) for two years – significantly changing the rules so that any facility that starts construction (not operation) by December 31, 2013 can qualify. According to the National Renewable Energy Labs, the percentage of domestically-sourced equipment used in wind power projects has grown from 35% in 2005-06 to 67% in 2011. Exports of wind power-generating sets have also increased from $15 M in 2007 to $149M in 2011. The ATRA also extends a series of tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades and energy efficient homes.
The American Wind Energy Association counts 75,000 workers in America’s wind energy sector, with the new tax law expected to save up to 37,000 jobs and create far more over time, as well as reviving business at nearly 500 manufacturing facilities across the country. Ohio, Colorado and Iowa are far enough down the path to start benefitting immediately.
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