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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Saturday, June 9, 2012

May in Review: Protecting Clean Energy Jobs in America

President Barack Obama delivers remarks urging Congress to act on the "To Do List" and highlighting the need to invest in clean energy by passing legislation, at TPI Composites Iowa's wind turbine blade facility in Newton, Iowa, May 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy).
In May, President Obama pressed lawmakers to act on his To-Do List for Congress at TPI Composites – a wind turbine blade manufacturer that employs more than 700 people – in Newton, Iowa. During the President's visit, he urged Congress to pass legislation that will extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) to support American jobs in the wind industry alongside an expansion of the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit that supports American-made clean energy manufacturing.
These credits have played an important role in fueling job creation and supporting a manufacturing base in clean energy. The United States now generates enough electricity from wind to power 10 million homes. And today, there are 500 wind-related production facilities in 43 states putting tens of thousands of people to work.
We need to keep this momentum going. That's why it's important for Congress to renew these credits. As the President said, "If Congress doesn't act, companies like this one will take a hit. Jobs will be lost. That's not a guess, that's a fact. We can't let that happen."
This represents just a snapshot of the Administration's efforts to promote American-made energy. For more information, check out the highlights below and read White House blogs on bipartisan support for the production tax creditHeather Zichal's speech to WINDPOWER 2012natural gas production, and energy efficiency.
President Obama visits Iowa to urge Congress to extend clean energy production tax credits
On May 24th, President Obama visited TPI Composites in Newton, Iowa to highlight the fourth item on his Congressional To-Do List: "Create Jobs by Investing in Affordable Clean Energy." In his remarks, the President urged Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC), set to expire at the end of 2012, and protect the thousands of jobs and hundreds of manufacturing facilities the credit currently supports. Read the President's remarksand check-out the full To-Do List.
The White House hosts wind energy developers and manufacturers for roundtable discussion
On May 22nd, over a dozen representatives from the wind industry met with Secretary Steven Chu, Secretary Ken Salazar, Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, and Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. The developers and manufacturers spoke about the potential for lay-offs and outsourcing without an extension to the Production Tax Credit (PTC). Read more about the roundtable discussion from the press conference that followed.
Secretary Salazar turns on the first large-scale solar energy project on public lands
On May 7th, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar "flipped the switch" on the Enbridge Silver State North solar project, the first large-scale solar energy facility on U.S. public lands to deliver power to American consumers. The Silver State North plant is located about 40 miles south of Las Vegas and has a capacity of 50-megawatts, enough to power about 9,000 Nevada homes. This plant is just one of the 29 large-scale renewable energy projects permitted on public lands since 2009. Read more about the Silver State North project here.
Energy Department Announces Launch of Energy Innovation Hub for Critical Materials Research
On May 31st, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced plans to invest up to $120 million over five years to launch a new Energy Innovation Hub, establishing a multidisciplinary and sustained effort to identify problems and develop solutions across the lifecycle of critical materials. The Hub will work to advance U.S. leadership in energy manufacturing—such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, efficient lighting, and others—through research aimed both at having a reliable supply of these rare earths and other critical materials, as well as finding efficiencies and alternatives that reduce the amount we actually need.
First winners announced for "Apps for Energy" competition
On May 22nd, the Energy Department announced the first round of winners for the "Apps for Energy" competition, with app developers submitting more than 50 innovative mobile and web applications that will help utility consumers save money by making the most of their "Green Button" electricity usage data. Check out the winners here!
EPA honors the top energy-efficient building designs
On May 18th, at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized nearly 100 commercial building design projects that achieved Designed to Earn the Energy Star certification in the past year. In total, the projects recognized are estimated to prevent nearly 175,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and save more than $23 million in annual energy costs.
Energy Department announces energy efficiency standards for clothes washers and dishwashers
On May 16th, the Energy Department announced energy efficiency standards for residential clothes washers and dishwashers that will save consumers $20 billion in energy and water costs. Under these standards, households will save approximately $350 over the lifetime of their clothes washer, while dishwashers will use approximately 15 percent less energy and over 20 percent less water.
Interior Department announces the approval for a major natural gas project for Uinta Basin
On May 8th, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar approved a major natural gas project in Utah's Uinta Basin, while safeguarding air quality and assuring the protection of critical wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation values. By signing the Record of Decision for the Greater Natural Buttes Project, Secretary Salazar approved up to 3,675 new gas wells in an existing gas producing area in Uintah County, Utah. Read more about this project at Secretary Salazar's blog post.
Supporting our Troops with Better Energy Options
On May 2nd, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta addressed an Environmental Defense Fund reception in honor of the Department of Defense's leadership in advancing our nation's security though transformative 21st century clean energy and environmental initiatives. From a security and financial perspective, Secretary Panetta acknowledged a deep commitment to finding better energy options: "reducing the amount of fuel used by the equipment translates to fewer loads for supply convoys, which insurgents have targeted in places like Afghanistan." Find his Secretary Panetta's full remarks here.

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