Making it in America: Policies Necessary to Spur Investment in Clean Energy Manufacturing
We're blogging live from the 2011 Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in Washington, DC. AAM Deputy Director Scott Boos is moderating a panel entitled "Making it in America: Policies Necessary to Spur Investment in Clean Energy Manufacturing."
Boos is explaining that AAM is a unique organization that combines labor and management.
"One of the best ways to create jobs is through manufacturing...we are generally more efficient at making steel than other countries."
He is delivering comments on the importance of developing a strong industrial policy and citing a Mellman Group poll commissioned by AAM to show that Americans care about manufacturing and that manufacturing is the backbone of our economy, as well as a sector that multiplies out to create other jobs, as many as 4-5 jobs in other sectors per one job in manufacturing.
"There are more people officially unemployed than working in manufacturing."
Boos has pointed to the fact that the U.S. has been the reigning global manufacturer for 110 years, but we are about to lose that title to China, which has recently surpassed Japan as the second largest economy in the world.
He is discussing what China is doing that is different than what we are doing:
- Investing heavily in clean energy
- Investing in infrastructure
- Adding workers in the clean energy manufacturing sector
Today, China accounts for half of the world's steel production...their exports are surging.
Boos is pointing out how much China pollutes, as the largest source of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the world.
"On any given day, 1/4 of the smog that comes over L.A. is directly from China."
Boos is discussing currency manipulation, saying that many economists agree that China's currency is approximately 40% undervalued.
"I like to tell our new members on the Hill that it doesn't cost a penny to enforce our trade laws."
"The Recovery Act provided $156 million for industrial energy efficiency projects - 24:1 oversubscribed. The allowed ArcelorMittal to take on a project that created 500 jobs."
Boos is introducing Linda Andros, Legislative Council, United Steelworkers
Andros is discussing funding for 48C, an advanced manufacturing tax credit, and the need for the Obama administration to provide the money to help out small manufacturing businesses in a supply chain.
She is now talking about the 301 trade case filed against China and the necessity of leveling the clean energy playing field when it comes to competing in the global economy.
"This is where the good jobs are, and this is where you are going to grow your technology and innovation."
"While they have open access here [United States], we don't really have open access there [China]."
"China has put restraints on the exports of rare earth minerals...so they're keeping it within their borders. It rises the price in the rest of the world because hardly any other countries produce these minerals."
Andros is speaking on Buy America and the importance of spending tax dollars domestically to the American economy. She is saying that if we are spending tax player dollars on, for example, a building, we want that building to be environmentally friendly and energy efficient, and we also want the parts for that building to be made here.
Liz Salerno, Director, Industry Data & Analysis, American Wind Energy Association
"There are a lot of specific things we can do to increase competitiveness of America manufacturing, but there has to first be a market for these products."
"There are 35,000 individual wind turbines installed in the United States..they can power the equivalent of 10 million homes. That is 5 million tons of steel, a wind turbine is 90% steel."
U.S. manufacturing plants serving the wind energy industry are highly concentrated around the steel belt. A lot of other companies have now entered into the steel industry.
She adds that Europe is still the dominant area in the globe that manufactures wind turbines. But there are 14,000 manufacturing jobs in the pipeline in the United States in announced facilities.
Salerno is exploring what has happened in the wind industry over the past five years.
"We are trying to convince manufacturers to stay and to come to the U.S. but we are competing globally...we don't have a selling point. Manufacturers are saying 'where is that long-term market that I can bank on.' Unfortunately we don't have anything in place to show them."
We need some federal leadership to provide long-term stability and predictability.
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