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Act Promotes Development in Clean Economy

July 18, 2019, 3:50 PM HST
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US Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), along with 10 colleagues, introduced legislation on Thursday, July 18, 2019, to spur economic development and create jobs during the transition into a clean economy.

As new and innovative opportunities in the clean energy, infrastructure and technology sectors continue to grow, the Good Jobs for 21st Century Energy Act would provide tax credits to businesses and industries who adhere to pro-worker standards of living such as high-quality benefits, living wages and apprenticeship opportunities.

“In Hawai‘i, we know the power of setting ambitious clean energy goals,” Sen. Hirono said. “After pledging to generate 100% renewable energy by 2045, we have seen what we can do when we make bold investments and set ambitious goals. The legislation we introduced today will provide incentives to pursue renewable projects in a way that supports American workers through strong labor protections and move us toward achieving our long-term energy goals.”

The Good Jobs for 21st Century Energy Act establishes labor standards for projects in the clean energy sector by setting clear employment and safety standards through the Project Labor Agreement process. Companies that meet the labor standards set forth in the bill would also be eligible for additional tax incentives for their clean energy, manufacturing or energy efficiency projects. The labor standards include paying at least prevailing wages and banning mandatory arbitration. Additionally, the legislation would require companies to be explicitly neutral on efforts to organize employees for collective bargaining.

The act also drives the development of American clean energy infrastructure and technology by creating a new 10% tax credit for qualifying clean energy generation facilities, carbon capture technologies and extends and increases the tax credits for energy efficiency projects. The bill would codify and expand the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, as well as provide grant funding to manufacturers to improve their own energy efficiency, energy use and competitiveness. The legislation also calls for apprenticeship eligibility for at least 20% of all jobs in each craft.

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Finally, the legislation would establish a Clean Jobs Workforce Hub within the US Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative to convene unions, employers and industry stakeholders to ensure adequate training and workforce development programs are in place to meet the needs of the clean energy future. Companies that meet the labor standards set forth in the bill would also be eligible for additional tax incentives for their clean energy, manufacturing or energy efficiency projects.

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