Clean tech jobs in Arkansas

    1:07 AM, Sep 25, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Clean tech jobs are everything from installing solar panels to weatherizing homes basically any job that helps promote clean renewable energy. Here in Arkansas, our main clean tech industry is wind energy but if congress doesn't act fast, those jobs could quickly disappear.

    They make up a growing number of jobs across the country and Glenn Hooks with the Sierra Club's "Beyond Coal" campaign says Arkansas is leading the way.

    "Arkansas is in the top ten percent of the states in this country with regard to the percentage of their workforce involved in green jobs or renewable energy jobs," says Hooks.

    2.8% of our overall workforce is made up of clean tech jobs, according to a report by DBL Investors, many of them coming from wind energy. But without a renewed tax incentive, that number may fall.

    "Right now, there is a production tax credit in place that helps subsidize the development of wind energy across the country. Right now, we are waiting on that to be renewed and a lot of the wind energy companies in Arkansas are waiting on it to be renewed so they can continue to take orders and continue to hire folks," says Hooks.

    Companies like Nordex, Beckmann Volmer and LM Windpower who announced last month plans to lay off more than half of it's Little Rock employees citing the expiration of the production tax credit as a cause and while he supports the incentive, Senator John Boozman says a tax break isn't the answer.

    "I believe very strongly that at some point in the not so distant future, the industry needs to stand on it's own and get off the taxpayer's help but to get it started, I think that that's important," says Senator John Boozman.

    It is a measure that isn't expected to be passed until after the election but one Congressman Tim Griffin says has his full support. Both congressmen tell me they support a renewed production tax credit for a number of reasons. Not only does it promote wind energy and other green tech jobs in Arkansas, it helps the U.S. Become less dependent on foreign oil.

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