This week, White House events in Michigan are highlighting how the state is becoming more and more of a bright spot for renewable energy. Two separate events, one in Eaton Rapids at a wind energy manufacturing company and the other in Ann Arbor on higher fuel efficiency standards, are showing that Michigan’s manufacturing industry is more multi-faceted and adaptive than ever before.
On Tuesday, Nancy Sutley, President Obama’s principal environmental advisor and Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality—along with Jobs21! Co-Chair Mark Schauer —joined business leaders at wind-energy component company Astraeus to highlight the need for Congress to act to extend the Federal wind energy production Tax Credit. Astraeus is developing new technologies to reduce the cost of wind energy generation, including more durable turbine blades.
In Michigan especially, the wind industry is helping to reawaken a manufacturing capital and make a significant contribution to not only creating new jobs, but also preventing the effects of climate change by increasing access to renewable energy.
Astraeus executives expressed frustration about the looming expiration date for the Production Tax Credit —a tax credit equal to 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of power a wind farm produces – and the effect it’s already had on their business.
“It is highly frustrating,” Roger Cope, Chairman of Astraeus Wind Energy said to the Lansing State Journal. “This is a no-brainer in terms of what it would mean for innovation in manufacturing, but we just can’t seem to get the policy people in Washington to understand that and to take some action.”
Heading east toward the motor city into Ann Arbor, Sutley shifted gears to the topic of fuel efficiency standards. The BlueGreen Alliance in conjunction with the Council on Environmental Quality held a roundtable to discuss fuel efficiency standards and alternative fuels. Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Representative John Dingell and UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada discussed the environmental and economic benefits of the Obama administration’s efforts to raise fuel efficiency standards and utilize alternative fuels. Mark Schauer moderated the discussion.
The Roundtable took questions on what fuel efficiency standards mean for jobs, the economy and the environment.
“(It gives) the auto industry the certainty it needs to build those ever-more fuel efficient cars,” Sutley said. “It gives them what they need to build cars now for the next dozen years, so that seemed like a pretty good deal to us, and we’ll all long be gone from Washington by the end of this, and that is really I think a model for how we can attack these problems, not just for today.”
A recent BlueGreen Alliance report shows that in Michigan, these higher fuel efficiency standards can create about 20,000 new jobs.
Both renewing the Production Tax Credit and increasing vehicle fuel efficiency are key components of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Jobs21! Initiative. To find out more about the components of our jobs plan, check out http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/jobs21.
Lansing State Journal: Eaton Rapids-based executives urge wind energy tax credit extension
The Michigan Daily: White House rep. visits University for fuel efficiency panel