WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced legislation that would expand and improve the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48C) program. The Security in Energy and Manufacturing (SEAM) Act, cosponsored by Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Robert P. Casey (D-PA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC), 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."
"If there was ever a market tailor-made for U.S. heavy industry, wind would be it. The parts match our manufacturing infrastructure and capabilities. The applications are here, and logistics favors local sources. However, our manufacturers must have the latest technology and equipment to successfully compete against already-established wind suppliers from other continents," Ed Weston, Director, The Great Lakes WIND Network (GLWN). "We believe it provides important incentives to catalyze the investments necessary to grow our nation's wind supply chain."
"The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit is aimed at manufacturers that are retooling for the clean energy economy, and are creating jobs here in the United States," said David Foster, Executive Director of the Blue Green Alliance. "These targeted tax credits are instrumental in making America competitive in the race for a clean energy economy and help to create good, green jobs for Americans across our great country."
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.
Through "48C" in the Recovery Act, $2.3 billion in federal funds leveraged more than $5.4 billion of private investment that supports the creation of manufacturing jobs. The funds distributed through the first wave of funding are estimated to create 17,000 jobs, plus an additional 41,000 jobs through matching private investment.
The Security in Energy and Manufacturing (SEAM) Act would extend the program and allow for grants in lieu of tax credits. This would enable the program to reach additional companies that would otherwise be unable to utilize the program - new companies that do not yet have tax liabilities or companies that struggle to find credit in today's tight financial market. Without a grant, this program is unusable for many would-be manufacturers. Both the tax credit and grant would remain at 30 percent of the cost of the project. The SEAM Act also adjusts the selection criteria to give higher priority to facilities that manufacture - rather than assemble - goods and components in the U.S.
The initial tax credit supported seven Ohio projects, totaling nearly $125 million in tax credits; dozens more eligible projects applied for funding and were denied due to a lack of funds. 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 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.
Brown is the author of the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act of 2009, legislation incorporated in the House-passed clean energy bill that would create a $30 billion revolving loan program to help auto suppliers and other small and mid-sized manufacturers retool for the clean energy industry. Brown's bill would also expand the focus of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to include support for manufacturers transitioning to the clean energy economy. A report released in February estimates that Brown's IMPACT Act could create more than 52,000 jobs in Ohio
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