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Bringing Green Manufacturing Back Home

Summary: 
Tobin Marcus with the Office of the Vice President takes another perspective on the VP's trip to GE Headquarters in Louisville -- another big step towards American leadership in green manufacturing.

We talk a lot about the need for America to lead the world in green manufacturing, and with good reason: a strong green manufacturing sector will create good, domestic jobs and boost exports, all while helping us reduce carbon emissions and break our dependence on foreign oil.

But it’s not just talk. We’re taking action to re-establish that leadership, and what’s happening today, down in Louisville, Kentucky, is a perfect example of how we’re going to do it.

Vice President Biden was in Louisville today to visit a General Electric facility called Appliance Park, where GE is investing $600 million to expand their manufacturing of energy-efficient appliances. But they’re not doing it alone – their investment is being supported by $24.8 million in Recovery Act funds through a program called the Section 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, or “48C” for short.

We’ve written about this program before, because it’s one of our favorite programs here at the Middle Class Task Force – it uses Recovery Act dollars to spur private-sector investments in the clean energy and energy efficiency technologies we need to tackle our energy challenges. And those investments create good jobs now, while planting the seeds for vibrant new industries in the future.

Down in Louisville, they’re having another great effect – they’re bringing green manufacturing back to America. Right now, GE makes energy-efficient water heaters in China, but thanks in part to this Recovery Act program, they’re moving production back to the states.

That’s a big turnaround. In fact, these energy-efficient water heaters are the first new product line at Appliance Park in the last 50 years, and the return of all this green manufacturing to the US is going to mean hundreds of new, high-quality jobs down in Louisville.

This is just one of the many success stories we’ve heard from the 48C program, which is leveraging private-sector investment to create good, middle-class jobs and build a domestic clean energy manufacturing sector. Our administration has proposed to build on that success by expanding the 48C program, and the Middle Class Task Force has made that expansion a priority.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – it’s time for Congress to enact our proposed expansion of 48C, because programs like this are the only way we’re going to keep getting changes like what’s happening down in Louisville. And that’s how we’re going to lead the world in green manufacturing.

Tobin Marcus is the Deputy Economic Policy Advisor in the Office of the Vice President