Biden’s Middle Class Task Force Meeting Focus Green Jobs

02 Mar

Task Force Focuses on Green Jobs as a Pathway to a Strong Middle Class

The White House Task Force on Middle Class Families, led by Vice President Joe Biden, held its inaugural meeting on February 27 in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania. The Task Force has a simple mandate: to find, highlight and implement solutions to the economic challenges facing the American middle class. With President Obama announcing last week more than $20 billion for investment in a cleaner, greener economy – including $500 million for green job training – the Task Force’s first order of business is to evaluate what investing in green jobs will mean for middle class families.

After VP Joe Biden presented at the Middle Class Task Force Meeting and discussed the $19 billion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment act that is dedicated to renewable energy. Solpower Jobs, a green web recruiter, believes Biden’s plan lacks foresight (Source: PRWEB and Solpower jobs).

Vice President Biden said,

“We all know that the existing electrical grid today is inadequate, insufficient and outdated. For example, of all the wind power that we’re talking about being able to create in the Midwest and North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and other plain states, (has) significant potential. But it cannot carry that energy right now to population centers that need the electricity most without a new transmission superhighway.”

Solpower jobs remarked on Biden’s meeting the next day saying,

“there is no doubt that smart grid technology is an improvement over the current electrical grid but… The current administration has not recognized the self sufficient decentralized energy sector.” Solpower jobs continued to bash the plan and proposed that building self powered homes was a better use of the budgeted funds.

Vice President Biden’s proposal would spend $11 billion of the $19 billion to build “The Transmission Superhighway” which the US Energy Department believes could provide the US with 20% wind energy. Additional information is available at the U.S. Department of energy website.

Additional Background on the Task Force

The Middle Class Task Force, chaired by Vice President Biden, is working with a wide array of federal agencies that have responsibility for key issues facing the middle class to expedite administrative reforms, propose Executive orders, and develop legislative and policy proposals that can be of special importance to working families. One of the things that makes this task force distinctive is it brings together – in one place – those agencies that have the most impact on the well-being of the middle class in our country. For more information, visit www.AStrongMiddleClass.gov.

Who’s right?

Is VP Biden’s focus on the transmission superhighway a wise use of the money? Or, is more critical thinking and brain power needed to address our nation’s power dilemma?

Bailout Bill Big Win For Wind, Hybrids and Solar

07 Oct

Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush, the bailout legislation includes a $17 billion energy tax package; a big win for solar, wind and hybrids.

Here’s a summary of articles on the topic with links to the publishers and their full stories:

Wired.com: Bailout Bill Benefits Wind and Solar Power Companies.

The general public may not be thrilled with the $700 billion “financial rescue” package that the House approved and President Bush signed Friday, but the alternative energy industry cheered its passage because the legislation includes renewals of tax breaks that company executives had worried would expire at the end of the year.

ClimateProgress.com: The biggest winner is certainly solar. As Scott Sklar, former head of the Solar Energy Industries Association and now President of the Stella Group summarizes:

This package extends the 30-percent federal investment tax credit for both residential and commercial solar, small wind, ground-coupled heat pumps installations from 4 – 8 years. This bill also completely eliminates the $2,000 monetary cap for residential solar electric installations. This bill also provides a incentive tax credit (ITC) for water energy applications
(tidal, wave, and ocean currents and thermal) and combined heat and power. The federal production tax credit was extened for biomass power, geothermal and wind energy as well.

Also according to ClimateProgress.com, the 8-year extension of the ITC is a crucial step in ensuring the success in this country of one of the most critical climate solutions – solar baseload or concentrated stored thermal electric, which the solar industry considers one of the single most important issues the federal government needs to address for stable growth.

Plug in hybrids also benefit from the bailout package as reported by the Green Car Congress:

The credit is a base $2,500 plus $417 for each kWh of battery pack capacity in excess of 4 kWh, to a maximum of $7,500 for light-duty vehicles; $10,000 for vehicles with gross vehicle weights of more than 10,000 but less than 14,000 pounds; $12,500 for vehicles with a GVW of more than 14,000 but less than 26,000 pounds; and $15,000 for any vehicle with a GVW of more than 26,000 pounds.

Phaseout of the credit is to begin after the total number of qualified PHEVs in the US sold after 31 December 2008 is at least 250,000.

Qualifying vehicles must have a battery pack with at least 4 kWh of capacity–a provision that will preclude the inclusion of the first generation of Toyota PHEVs as well, potentially, as other lower all-electric range plug-ins.

ClimateProgress.com: This is a heck of a kickstart for plug-in hybrids, especially since $1 billion has been set aside for this tax credit. The Electric Drive Transportation Association also reports “The credit is available against the alternative minimum tax,” which is very good news. That means the upscale first buyers of this $45,000 car will actually be able to take advantage of this credit (see here).

Lots of other clean technologies benefited. For instance, “The measure increases the tax credit limitation for fuel cells from $500 to $1,500 per half kilowatt of capacity.” Frankly, $500 was the equivalent of doing nothing, whereas $1,500 may actually make some stationary fuel cells competitive. Geothermal
heat pumps
and cogeneration systems both get a well-deserved new 10% ITC.

DailyKos: A comprehensive article on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the “Bailout Plan”).