Connecting the dots: how clean energy policies lead to green jobs in the Southeast

This blog was written by Jennifer Rennicks, former Senior Director of Policy & Communications at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | February 26, 2010 | Energy Policy

Last week, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy helped coordinate two Congressional tours at clean energy manufacturing facilities here in the Southeast to visibly demonstrate the link between progressive clean energy policies and the green jobs that can result.

On Tuesday, February 16, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (NC) joined a SACE-ally, American Wind Energy Association, for a tour of a Shelby, NC-based PPG Industries’ plant.   The tour provided the opportunity for the senator to see one step in the wind-energy supply chain: fiberglass sheets production that will eventually become wind-turbine rotor blades.  The tour enabled the senator to speak directly with a few of the plant’s 500 employees and the plant manager pointed out that a modest 20% by 2020 Renewable Energy Standard would enable PPG to add about 250 workers with an increased demand for their products.

To build support for such a policy, SACE has shared dozens of reports with Congressional leaders and their staff to demonstrate how our region has the ability to comply with, and even exceed, such a standard as well as the job creation benefits that clean energy production can mean for the South and we will continue to do so into the future.

Then, on Thursday, February 18, Seandra Rawls, SACE’s Diversity & Community Outreach Coordinator, joined Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) and our allies at Environment Georgia for a tour of Suniva, a silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturer based in Norcross, GA.  Suniva just received $5.7 million in tax credits through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and announced they plan to add 50 new jobs to the 150-strong workforce at the Norcross facility. Touring the solar manufacturing facility provided the Congressman with a first-hand look at how good leadership, effective policy, and innovative businesses can help create more green jobs in our country and in our region, leading us to a cleaner, energy-independent future.

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