Senate Bill Would Create $30B Fund for Cleantech Manufacturing

The Apollo Alliance has given its support to a new U.S. Senate bill that it says will create more than 2.5 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. over five years.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the “Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act of 2009,” yesterday.

The IMPACT Act would provide resources for small- and medium-sized manufacturers through a 2-year, $30 billion manufacturing revolving loan fund. Brown said the fund will provide much needed liquidity for domestic manufacturers to improve manufacturing processes and to retool and expand production of clean energy products.

The Apollo Alliance estimates that, once enacted, the bill will create 680,000 direct clean energy jobs in manufacturing and nearly 2 million indirect jobs over five years.

The stimulus and other policies currently being considered in the House energy bill–such as a Renewable Energy Standard or a carbon cap–will generate unprecedented demand for clean energy parts and systems, the Apollo Alliance said in a release. Yet, 70% of America’s clean and efficient energy systems are currently produced abroad, including half of the country’s existing wind turbines and all transformers for the electrical grid.

“Without a program to support our own domestic manufacturers, policies that create new demand for clean energy will just lead to more imports,” Apollo Alliance Chairman Phil Angelide said. “It is critical that Congress enact legislation that provides direct and substantial investment in clean energy component manufacturing to ensure that jobs are created in the U.S., and to wean us from our dependence on other nations to meet our energy needs.”

Brown’s legislation would also expand and focus Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) on clean energy manufacturing. Under Brown’s legislation, the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a division of the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, would receive $1.5 billion in federal funds over five years to help manufacturers access clean energy markets and adopt energy-efficient manufacturing technologies.

“We can revive American manufacturing through investment in clean energy,” said Senator Brown. “This bill will help our manufacturers retool, put our auto suppliers back to work, and produce clean energy technologies.”

In April, Apollo Alliance released its Green Manufacturing Action Plan (GreenMAP), which detailed aggressive steps to scale up production of American-made clean energy systems and components while making U.S. factories more energy efficient.

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