Federal tax breaks for "greentech" jobs

Friday President Obama announced $2.3 billion dollars in tax credits for businesses creating greentech jobs.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

Friday President Obama announced $2.3 billion dollars in tax credits for businesses creating greentech jobs. The government says it will lead to 17,000 jobs. That works out to $135,000 per job “created.” And the 17 thousand is one-fifth of the number of jobs reportedly lost in the U.S. last month alone. The money comes from the stimulus package enacted last February. Among those getting the credits: Hemlock Semiconductor $142-million for a solar plant in Michigan; GE, $110-million; United Technologies $110-million; MiaSole of Santa Clara $91-million; CaliSolar of Sunnyvale over $51-million; Texas Instruments $51-million; Dow $20-million; Itron $5-million.

Nine solar and battery projects qualified in California including San Jose's Nanosolar and Stion Corp. among the Silicon Valley firms approved for the greentech tax credits. Michigan also got nine credits approved.

Altogether there are 183 manufacturing projects across 43 states getting the credits. The White House would like Congress to approve another $5-billion worth of tax credits.

Here are the kinds of projects approved for the tax credits: Solar, wind, geothermal, or other renewable energy equipment. Electric grids and storage for renewables. Fuel cells and micro turbines. Energy storage systems for electric or hybrid vehicles. Carbon dioxide capture and sequestration equipment. Equipment for refining or blending renewable fuels. Equipment for energy conservation, including lighting and smart grid technologies. Plug-in electric vehicles or their components, such as electric motors, generators, and power control units. Here's the Department of Energy release on the tax credits.

Last spring the Pew Trust did a study of greentech jobs in the U.S. They found 770-thousand as of 2007 and concluded that greentech jobs had grown three times as fast as overall job growth in the preceding decade.

What is greentech anyway? The official federal definition is going to be left to those who are keeping count. Here’s the wikipedia definition. Here’s a definition from our own CNET. Here's how one investment site sees “green technology.” It is not necessary that the federal government’s definition resemble any of these earlier versions of “green technology.”

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