Rust Belt to Clean Energy Industry: Help Us Help You

"A mirror facet for a solar dish is cut on a machine at Tower Automotive in Livonia, Mich." Photo: Stirling Energy Systems
From Rust Belt to Green Belt
Economic development officials from U.S. states that have been hit hard by decline in manufacturing (especially auto part makers), collectively known as the rust belt, are now trying to attract green manufacturing jobs. After all, representatives of those states claim, if we're going to make enough solar panels, solar collectors for solar thermal plants, wind turbines, etc, we'll need factories and a skilled workforce.Todd Woody at the LA Times writes:

For all of green tech's futuristic sheen, solar power plants and wind farms are made of much of the same stuff as automobiles: machine-stamped steel, glass and gearboxes.

That has renewable energy companies hitting the highway for Detroit and Northeastern industrial states, driven in part by the federal stimulus package's incentives and buy-American mandates.

The best way to stimulate a homegrown clean tech industry would be to internalize some of the costs of dirty energy, though. As long as coal is cheap because it costs nothing (or almost nothing) to pollute and spew greenhouse gases, it will be harder for clean energy to compete. Another way would be to cut subsidies to fossil fuels.

Via LA Times
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