President Obama emphasized the importance of creating energy jobs by investing in the sector. He called for increased utilization of natural gas in the country, and stated that subsidizing renewable energy sources such as solar and wind would help lower the country's dependence on oil-using vehicles.
"Even if we tapped every drop of domestic oil, we've only got 2 percent of the world's oil reserves. We've got to have an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy, develop every available source of American energy," the president told a group of people in Aurora, Colorado, where the Air Force is currently installing a 1-megawatt (MW) solar power system, Reuters reports.
Data provided by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) indicated that the industry experienced more than 6,800 megawatts worth of installations in 2011, which was a 31 percent increase from the previous year, according to SustainableBusiness.com. With more than 8,300 MW in additional installations currently underway, 2012 could result in the creation of substantial energy jobs.
The AWEA used this information as a basis for advocating the renewal of the production tax credit, and indicated that the top five states that experienced the most installations during the year were California with 921 MW, Illinois with 692 MW, Iowa with 646 MW, Minnesota with 542 MW and Oklahoma, the media outlet reports.
"Traditional tax incentives are working. This tremendous activity is being driven by the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) - which leveraged an average of more than $16 billion a year in private investment over the last several years and supported tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs," Denise Bode, AWEA chief executive officer, told the media outlet.
President Obama used the example of a Michigan-based luxury yacht maker that started manufacturing energy products when the economy started going south to advocate the use of government subsidy of similar companies, according to The Associated Press.
The company was awarded a 15-year tax credit totaling $27.3 million in 2009, which will be awarded on the condition that the firm create 1,000 jobs, the media outlet reports. The firm also received a $3.5 million state award for "energy excellence" in 2010. The company has stated that it plans to hire another 100 workers in 2012, and that the positions will pay wages competitive with similar jobs in the region. This will serve as a boon to the creation of energy jobs, which can often be filled through employment agencies.