It’s the fourth of July. As most people are beginning to settle in on the blanket, folding chair or whatever they put on their spot to see the fireworks, I’m logging in to post the President’s weekly. A day late, but nevertheless something very intriguing on the theme of jobs. This week the 9.5% unemployment rate reflected a flicker of improvement, but nothing to shoot off fireworks about.
But here’s what caught my eye/ears in the President’s weekly…
We’re going to keep fighting to advance our recovery. And we’re going to keep competing aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America.
That’s one of the reasons why we’re accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and doubling our use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power – steps that have the potential to create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America.
In fact, today, I’m announcing that the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments to two solar companies.
The first is Abengoa Solar, a company that has agreed to build one of the largest solar plants in the world right here in the United States. After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs right here in America. In the short term, construction will create approximately 1,600 jobs in Arizona. What’s more, over 70 percent of the components and products used in construction will be manufactured in the USA, boosting jobs and communities in states up and down the supply chain. Once completed, this plant will be the first large-scale solar plant in the U.S. to actually store the energy it generates for later use – even at night. And it will generate enough clean, renewable energy to power 70,000 homes.
The second company is Abound Solar Manufacturing, which will manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. A Colorado plant is already underway, and an Indiana plant will be built in what’s now an empty Chrysler factory. When fully operational, these plants will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year.
Abound is based in Arizona. These are not the first grants awarded to solar energy companies, per Dow Jones Newswires:
Solyndra Inc., which won a $535 million loan guarantee last year, makes a different type of solar panel. BrightSource last month was awarded a $1.4 billion loan guarantee to build three power plants that use solar thermal power, which concentrate sunlight onto mirrors or other receivers and convert the sunlight into electricity.
This will be worth watching especially when they ring the bell on the trade floor this week.