Monday, March 28, 2011

Thousands of Michigan Jobs in Wind & Solar

LANSING, Mich. - When it comes to job creation in Michigan, the wind and solar energy supply chain is a generator. According to a new report from the Environmental Law and Policy Center, more than 10,000 jobs in the state are tied to the wind and solar energy sectors. (View it online at

It says Michigan ranks fourth in the nation for number of jobs in the solar industry and first for clean energy patents. Howard Learner is the Center's executive director and an author of the report. He says Michigan policymakers have done their part, by creating policies that encourage growth in the clean energy sector.

Learner also suggests that continuing and strengthening such programs as the Michigan Renewable Portfolio Standard, along with wind and solar energy tax reforms, could help boost those employment numbers even more. The Michigan Standard, enacted in 2008, requires that 10 percent of all electricity purchased by utilities in the state be generated by renewable technologies by 2015. Government programs, along with a highly trained and skilled workforce, contribute to the bright jobs picture for wind and solar, he adds.

Jarrod Erpelding is with Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor in Michigan, producing components for wind and solar energy production. He says jobs are already being created in Michigan with investments Dow has made.

"That's directly created about 1,500 jobs here in Michigan, most of that through our investments at Hemlock Semiconductor."

The report says clean tech is the state's fastest-growing sector, with $10 billion in announced clean energy development investments in the pipeline. The companies include new startups as well as old-line manufacturing companies that are retooling to make renewable energy equipment for growing markets.


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