Yingli: still debating solar plant site

January 13, 2010

By Jacob Dirr Staff Writer
Austin Business Journal

Despite indications Chinese solar giant Yingli is building its North American operations, research and development hub in Phoenix, the company is remaining coy.

Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Ltd. (NYSE: YGE) officials said they are still evaluating several potential sites, according to a press release today. But if the company does decide to build in Austin, it would forfeit $4.5 million in tax credits, according to a federal spokeswoman.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Yingli the multi-million dollar credit in exchange for constructing a large solar manufacturing facility in Phoenix, according to an application filed last year.

Last October, local business and economic sources said Austin was competing with five other cities for the project. But Yingli has not confirmed plans either way, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce vice president for economic development.

"They were here just last week," chamber Vice President Dave Porter said today.

The chamber is now trying to determine what the DOE awards mean for Austin’s chances to win Yingli.

In Arizona, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council has talked with Yingli, but the company has not committed, said Barry Broome, the group’s president and CEO.

Some speculated Yingli would be allowed to build its plant in another community, even though it listed the Arizona capital for its project location on a federal tax credit application, but after some internal fact checking, the DOE said today that is not true.

"If a project moves states then it is no longer eligible" for the federal tax credit, a DOE spokeswoman said in an email.

Meanwhile, it appears that Yingli has submitted applications for Austin and Texas incentives, although none have been granted yet, according to sources.

A state spokeswoman said this week it does not comment on economic incentives until they are official.

A top Austin city hall source said staff has not yet talked with Yingli about incentives.

On Monday, business and economic development officials in San Antonio, where Yingli also considered building, confirmed their city was definitely no longer on the table.

Yingli seemed focused on Phoenix during the later stages of negotiations, according to Mario Hernandez, president of the
San Antonio Economic Development Foundation
.

If the Chinese clean energy superpower does select Phoenix, it would mark the second time in four months Arizona has landed a major foreign solar company over Austin.

Patrick O’Grady, staff writer at the Phoenix Business Journal, contributed to this report.

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This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The 5 Best Cities For Green Jobs

January 11, 2010

Guest Post From Dan Shapley From The Daily Green
Huffington Post

"In a generally bleak employment picture, the green jobs sector is growing faster than any other." So writes Jim Motavalli in The Daily Green’s report about the best U.S. cities to find a green job. Growth in the sector was a robust 9.1% in the decade ending in 2007 (compared to 3.7% overall), and as many as another 1.9 million jobs are expected by 2020 from the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The stimulus bill is pumping $30 billion into the clean energy sector alone.

Green jobs can mean a lot of things — conservation and pollution mitigation, clean energy, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly production, along with training and support. But each state isn’t sharing equally in this bounty of new jobs.

"With unemployment over 10%, people need to go where the jobs are, and some states — and some cities — are making out better than others as the green jobs phenomenon unfolds," Motavalli writes. "While every state and most American cities have a piece of the new economy, here are the five cities that — through a combination of federal, state and municipal programs — are faring best".

New York City

New York CityUnder newly reelected Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city launched PlaNYC with 127 initiatives for greening the city, including an earmark $1 billion for building retrofits to increase energy efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Clean Edge ranks the New York metropolitan area (including northern New Jersey and Long Island) third among 15 top U.S. metro areas for job creation. New York State was the sixth leading state for clean energy job creation in 2007, adding 3,323 clean businesses and 34,363 new jobs that year. Some $209 million in venture capital was invested in the state’s clean energy economy between 2006 and 2008.

Find a green job in New York City.

Photo: Rolando Alvarez

San Francisco

San Francisco The Trust for Public Land OfficeAccording to the New York Times, California had the most clean-energy jobs in 2008: 125,000, many of them in progressive San Francisco and nearby Silicon Valley. The Clean Edge report identifies San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose as the number one metro area for clean technology job activity (Los Angeles/Riverside/Orange County is second). SunPower, a solar company based in San Jose with 5,400 employees, is rated #10 in Clean Edge’s 2009 survey of top clean-tech employers. Green tech can only get better in San Francisco, where 20 big construction projects have applied for LEED certification and voters recently approved $100 million in revenue bonds to support renewable energy. In California overall, green businesses increased 45% between 1995 and 2008, and employment in the sectors grew 36%, according to the "Many Shades of Green" report from Next 10. The report said the most jobs were added in services (45% of the total), followed by manufacturing (21%). In research positions, the biggest private sector categories are green transportation, energy generation, and air and environment, said the report.

Find a green job in San Francisco.

Photo: Bill Poole/The Trust for Public Land

Boston/Cambridge

Boston - installing windowsStarting with the fact that with its concentration of colleges –including MIT, Boston University, Harvard, Northeastern, Emerson and several more, the metro area is a great incubator for green technology. Named the "best walking city" by Prevention magazine last year, Boston has had a major climate protection plan in place since 2002. Its number three fuel source, believe it or not, is wind power. Its new buildings have to be constructed to top LEED standards, and most of its municipal vehicles are either electric or run on B20 biofuel. Boston (including Worcester, Lawrence, Lowell and Brockton) ranks as numb

er four in the Clean Edge survey of 15 top U.S. metro areas for clean-tech job creation. The Boston area is, not surprisingly, home to some cutting-edge green companies.

Boston Power, for instance, is helmed by the ambitious Swedish executive
Christina Lampe-Onnerud
, who pioneered a better lithium-ion battery for HP laptops, and is moving into the electric car market. And a local competitor is the fast-moving A123, which also makes lithium-ion battery packs and has Chrysler among its customers.

Find a green job in Boston.

Photo: George Peters/ IStock

Detroit

Olivia Zaleski at Detroit auto showThe Motor City makes few Top Ten lists. Its vaunted monorail goes practically nowhere, its downtown is still struggling, and political turmoil at City Hall — added to daunting budgetary constraints — has kept civic progress at a minimum. Michigan has the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 15.3%, and it is also dealing with 3.6% job loss between 1998 and 2007. A Pew Center on the States report says that the state will have lost a million jobs by the end of the decade (a quarter in the auto industry, and more than a third this year). But help is on the way, in the form of federal Department of Energy green-tech grants that are funding factories and creating jobs to tap into the vast pool of skilled auto industry talent in the metropolitan area. The state had created more than 22,000 clean-tech jobs by 2007, but those numbers will jump impressively when recent DOE funding puts spades in the ground.

Michigan did make one Top Ten list: It was number seven on a list of clean energy jobs compiled by Pew Charitable Trusts. Clean Edge identifies the green transportation sector as one of four growth areas, and that benefits the cluster of companies making hybrid and electric vehicles in the greater Detroit area. Even companies not based in Michigan — such as California’s Fisker Automotive and Ford battery car supplier Magna International — have opened hubs near Detroit. A mechanical engineer working on plug-in hybrids and EVs can expect to make $63,600 median pay with a bachelor’s degree, reports Clean Edge. A great example of what’s happening in the Rust Belt is the transformation of the Ford Motor Company plant in Wixom, Michigan from a shuttered eyesore that had lost 1,500 jobs to an incubator for Xtreme Power (which makes power systems for wind and solar) and Clairvoyant Energy (solar).

Find a green job in Detroit.

Photo: Courtesy Olivia Zaleski/CNNMoney

Portland, Oregon

Portland community gardenMany rate Portland number one in sustainability. What other city can boast of 200 miles of walking and bicycling trails, a fast transit hub to the airport, fare-free light rail in the city core and free parking for electric cars? The city replaced a six-lane highway with a waterfront park, and it has 50 LEED-certified buildings. Despite strong challenges from Colorado and Tennessee, Oregon was the number one performer in creating clean energy economy jobs, reports the Pew Charitable Trusts. Oregon had almost 20,000 clean jobs in 2007, many of them in the Portland metro area. More than 1 percent of the Beaver State’s 1.9 million jobs are related to the clean energy economy — the highest percentage in the nation. Oregon is also number three in providing environmentally friendly manufacturing jobs. A Clean Edge survey of the Top 15 metro areas for clean-tech job activity puts Portland/Salem at number eight, just below Seattle/Tacoma/Bremerton. Like other cities on this list, Portland struggles with high unemployment, but it’s fighting joblessness with its prime weapon — sustainability.

Find a green job in Portland.

Photo: Leslie Pohl-Kosbau

Other Green Job Cities

To read more about these five cities, and see a list of other notable destinations, check out Jim’s full report, The Best Cities for Green Jobs.

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Yingli eyes Phoenix for solar plant over Austin

Monday, January 11, 2010

By Jacob Dirr Staff Writer
Austin Business Journal

China’s second largest solar company has 4.5 million reasons to build a plant in Phoenix, instead of Austin, taking 300 new jobs to the Valley of the Sun.

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: YGE) will be awarded $4.5 million to build its first American manufacturing plant in Phoenix.

Yingli, the Texas governor’s office and the Austin Chamber of Commerce declined to comment. Austin city officials could not be reached. But the DOE announcement took Austin-area sources by surprise singulair tablet.

The DOE awards are based on applications Yingli filed Oct. 16, stating it planned to build the plant in Phoenix, a DOE spokeswoman said.

The tax credit rules suggest a company must build a facility in the city it listed in order to receive the money, a DOE spokeswoman said Monday in an email.

If any "change that a reasonable person would conclude might have influenced DOE in recommending or ranking the project" is made, then awards are void, according to the program rules.

The Austin Business Journal reported in October that Yingli had selected Austin as one of five finalists, including San Antonio, to host a photovoltaic panel plant that initially would house about 300 employees.

Sources said the plant would cost $20 million, while Dow Jones has reported it would cost $50 million, citing Robert Petrina, the head of Yingli’s U.S. operations.

San Antonio economic development officials confirmed that their city is out of the running.

Mario Hernandez, president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, said Yingli focused on Phoenix during the later stages of negotiations.

David Marquez, executive director of economic development Bexar County, said last he knew, Austin was still being considered.

If Yingli has selected Phoenix, it would mark the second time in four months Arizona has landed a major foreign solar company over Austin, which has struggled to land clean-tech businesses.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., China’s largest solar company, announced late last year that they planned to open a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Phoenix.

Sources said Austin made a substantial effort for Suntech, but company officials were not impressed with efforts on the state level.

"We are seeing that most of the clean-tech jobs are depended on heavy subsidies," Hernandez said. "We don’t compare to most states in the incentive process."

JDIRR(at)bizjournals.com | (512) 494-2528

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
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