Powering Our Future, Creating Jobs
Investing in renewable energy isn't just good for the environment, but it also makes good economic sense. From small businesses to large manufacturing facilities, Oregon's Business & Residential Energy Tax Credits (BETC & RETC), is a great example of how good policies can help build an entire economic sector as well as generate clean energy. The BETC & RETC have helped create more than 1,700 new jobs and produce enough electricity to power more than 175,000 homes.
Thanks to BETC, Persephone Farm in Lebanon, Oregon, is able to generate two-thirds of their power from solar panels at their business. On a larger scale, PGE’s construction of their Biglow Canyon wind farm, which generates enough energy for 34,000 households per year, was also supported by the BETC.
But another major benefit comes in the form of job creation. Workers are needed to handle all of the wind farm construction and solar installation activity in the region. Luring equipment manufacturers to the state creates even more jobs. For example, SolarWorld, a world leader in high quality solar power technology, opened North America’s largest solar cell manufacturing facility in Hillsboro in October 2008, and started an expansion of the facility just five months later. SolarWorld has plans for future expansion that would bring the total number of employees to about 1,000 by 2011.
Another company, Solaicx, invested $18 million in a new silicon wafer facility in Hillsboro to supply the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. Altogether, BETC and other state policies have attracted 62 solar energy companies to Oregon.
Through smart policy decisions that make it attractive for businesses to locate here, the region is quickly becoming a hub for the green energy economy. With this activity come family-wage jobs, as well as national and international attention in the business arena.
It quite clear that renewable energy investment is good for a strong business climate as well as the global climate.