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Sector development specialist
Green manufacturing sector
Renewegy is a Fond du Lac company that makes wind turbines for use on farms and commercial establishments.
Wisconsin is a manufacturing state. We have more manufacturing jobs per capita than any other state, and manufacturing is a major driver of Wisconsin’s economy, contributing $47 billion (19 percent) and supporting about a quarter of private sector jobs.
As we seek to build on our history, expertise and infrastructure, growing manufacturing jobs in energy efficiency (including green building products), renewable energy (including wind, solar, biomass and geothermal products), energy storage products, alternative transportation (including electric cars and mass transit) and water products and infrastructure, requires the DNR to work hand in hand with other development officials.
Green manufacturing in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is already well positioned to be a leader in green manufacturing. Wisconsin currently is home to over 1,300 firms that produce parts for wind turbines, solar panels, biomass equipment and energy storage. Expanding markets for these technologies could help these firms create an additional 35,000 jobs by 2016.
Companies that manufacture component parts for water infrastructure are clustered in Southeast Wisconsin, and have come together to form the Water Council.
Photo credit: Cassie Krueger
By combining the resources of the DNR with other state and local economic development officials, we hope to make Wisconsin very attractive for both corporate expansions of companies already in the state and for new companies looking for a manufacturing base in the upper Midwest.
One area that the DNR's Green Manufacturing team will be focusing on is how the department can work with the private sector to make wise investments to help grow jobs in the manufacturing sector and position. Wisconsin is a regional green economic leader. Supporting the growth of green manufacturers by adopting clean energy policies would create incentives for large-scale investments in energy efficiency and clean energy. This could increase Wisconsin’s GDP by more than $1 billion and would lead other firms to choose Wisconsin as a manufacturing home.
The green manufacturing discussion rose to the national forefront in 2008 when concern about high-energy costs, climate change and the off-shoring of manufacturing jobs were heightened by the economic crisis. Since then, we have seen a resurgence in manufacturing, with jobs returning to the state from overseas. When talking about green manufacturing, manufacturers of wind and solar energy products immediately come to mind.
Green manufacturing and neighboring states
Wisconsin is well represented by companies that supply component parts to solar panels and their installation infrastructure.
Examples abound in our neighboring states: Michigan Republican Governor Synder is serious about growing the green manufacturing sector. Michigan is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation for job creation; and green manufacturing jobs are a critical piece of the Michigan job creation puzzle. Seventeen battery companies and 50 solar, wind and biofuels companies have moved to Michigan since 2009. Iowa sought to establish itself as a manufacturing base for the wind sector. Iowa is home to TPI Composites and Siemens (major blade manufacturers), Clipper Windpower and Acciona (major turbine manufacturers), Trinity Structural Towers (major tower manufacturer) and Horizon Wind (one of the largest wind farm developers in the U.S.). In 2009, 2,300 jobs were directly linked to wind turbine manufacturing in Iowa, the most in the nation.