PLYMOUTH, Minn. – U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman today highlighted how Minnesota clean energy companies and workers are supporting American leadership and global competitiveness in manufacturing during a series of events across the Twin Cities area. While in Minnesota, Deputy Secretary Poneman also called for the extension of clean energy tax credits to support American jobs, including for construction workers, technicians, welders and other electrical workers.

“Minnesota is on the front lines of America’s growing clean energy economy. Its innovative businesses and training programs will develop a workforce with the skills necessary for the manufacturing jobs of the future,” said Deputy Secretary Poneman. “To grow our clean energy industry, President Obama has called on Congress to extend important federal tax credits, including the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, which supports technologies ranging from fuel cells and wind turbines to advanced vehicle batteries.”

Deputy Secretary Poneman toured Daikin McQuay’s technology center in Plymouth, Minnesota, highlighting the company’s innovative manufacturing operations, which are helping industries around the world save money on energy costs. As one of the world’s largest producers of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, Daikin McQuay is pushing the boundaries of energy efficient equipment and supporting U.S. manufacturing competitiveness in the global market. With the help of nearly $1.4 million in Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits, the company is expanding its Minnesota facilities to deploy a new testing module that will produce more efficient, cost-saving technologies.

“The people of Daikin McQuay are looking to the future. They are innovators and leaders – and it’s gratifying to see their work showcased,” said Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik.       

In the United States, industrial processes consume about one-third of the all energy produced in the country, representing a huge opportunity to boost American competitiveness through advances in energy-saving technologies. Daikin McQuay is the first company to meet the Energy Department’s Rooftop Unit Challenge, which challenged manufacturers to produce commercial air conditioning units that use 50 to 60 percent less energy than traditional rooftop cooling units.

Today, Deputy Secretary Poneman also visited the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 343 Union in Rochester, where he met with workers and toured the union’s clean energy job training facility. Local 343 offers a wind certification program for union members who are interested in construction, installation and maintenance jobs in America’s growing wind energy industry. The Local 343 facility features a 60-foot turbine tower section to help train workers on deploying and maintaining wind turbine technology. Minnesota ranks fifth among U.S. states in total installed wind capacity and added the fourth most new capacity in 2011, with over 540 megawatts installed last year.

“Energy— how can we conserve as well as what are the alternate sources? Solar, wind and water are all great alternatives and are worthy of our continued exploration. The renewability is of great importance,” stated Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede.

Nationally, energy generation from wind turbines has grown by 27 percent over the last year, with production facilities now in more than 40 states. The Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides an important tax credit to utility-scale wind producers in the United States and has helped drive this growth, is set to expire at the end of this year. The wind industry projects that nearly 30,000 jobs will be lost next year if the PTC expires, including direct jobs as well as those in the wind energy supply chain. Working in tandem with the PTC, the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit provides a 30 percent investment credit to manufacturers who invest in capital equipment to make components for clean energy projects in the U.S. In his Congressional To-Do List, President Obama has called for an extension of these successful clean energy tax credits to support continued growth of our nation’s clean energy economy, create jobs and boost American manufacturing competitiveness and innovation.

Find more information on President Obama’s call to extend the clean energy tax credits HERE