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Senator Sees Ohio as Silcon Valley of Clean Energy Manufacturing

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wants to expand and improve the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit and says his Security in Energy and Manufacturing (SEAM) Act would promote more domestic manufacturing of clean energy technology.

"Manufacturing is critical to the strength of our nation and the future of our middle class, and clean energy represents the future of American manufacturing," Brown said. "Ohio already has a skilled workforce and a rich manufacturing heritage. Expanding this tax credit would create new manufacturing jobs in a future clean energy economy and help make Ohio the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy Manufacturing."

The SEAM Act would extend and modify the successful manufacturing tax credit from the Recovery Act that has run out of funds. The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48C) was authorized in Section 1302 of the Recovery Act and requires the Secretary of Treasury to work in consultation with the Secretary of Energy.

It provides a 30 percent credit for domestic companies for investments in new, expanded, or reequipped clean energy manufacturing projects. The program is aimed at building capacity to meet this new and growing source of demand. Qualifying facilities manufacture a wide range of clean energy products, including wind turbines, solar panels, hybrid vehicle systems, carbon capture and sequestration systems, and biofuel refinery components, among others.

The Department of Energy (DOE) states that the program was more than three times oversubscribed. Nationwide, DOE deemed 418 projects eligible, which amounts to $5.8 billion in unfunded eligible applications. These manufacturers, like the Elyria Foundry, are waiting in the pipeline, and would be ready to break ground soon after they receive funding.

The SEAM Act also helps restore American's manufacturing base. By giving priority to U.S. production, the bill would ensure that our U.S. manufacturing base produces all parts in the clean energy supply chain. As clean energy becomes one of the world's largest industries, forecasted at over $2 trillion annually, clean energy manufacturing provides a significant opportunity for the U.S. to restore its manufacturing base and create good-paying jobs domestically.

Brown has repeatedly called for the expansion of the 48C program. On April 15, Brown led a letter with 10 U.S. Senators calling for climate legislation to provide assistance for manufacturers by expanding the 48C program. On April 7, Brown joined Ron Bloom, Senior Counselor for Manufacturing Policy, to hold a roundtable with central Ohio manufacturers at Edison Welding Institute in Columbus. Earlier that same week, Sen. Brown met with southeastern Ohio manufacturers at Thermo Fisher plant in Marietta. In late March, Governor Ted Strickland (D-OH) joined 19 Governors in a letter urging President Obama to expand the 48C program.

Through 48C in the Recovery Act, seven Ohio companies received more than $125 million in tax credits. Ohio already ranks fourth in the nation in clean energy jobs. Below are the funds received from the initial allocation of 48C funding.

According to a Pew report, The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America, between 1998 and 2007, jobs in Ohio's clean energy economy grew 7.3 percent while overall jobs declined 2.2 percent in the state. By 2007, however, there were more than 35,250 jobs in Ohio's clean energy economy almost matching job numbers at Wal-Mart, Ohio's largest employer. Pew found in that same year, Ohio supported 2,513 clean energy businesses, and in the last three years, Ohio has attracted more than $74 million in clean energy venture capital.

The report also places Ohio as part of a national trend that saw clean energy job growth outpace overall job growth. Across the country, jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a rate of 9.1 percent while total jobs grew by only 3.7 percent over the same period. According to Pew, Ohio emerged fourth in country for clean energy job creation out of the 38 states and the District of Columbia that also experienced burgeoning employment in the clean energy sector.

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