Solar and wind jobs may go to China


China’s rapidly growing market share in the burgeoning market for renewable energy production poses a major threat for Oregon.

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Renewable energy has been a rare bright spot in Oregon’s job market, but the growing power of China threatens local jobs in this sector.

Major solar and wind companies lured to the state with tax breaks are being undercut on price, as are local startups trying to move into the market.

A new lobbying group has formed in Washington County to combat the fiscal policies that enable China to undercut the competition. If current trends continue, the incentives that kick-started Oregon’s green economy may prove a waste of money.

Will all these tax breaks pay off in long-term jobs, especially in manufacturing? Or will solar and wind jobs evaporate, like the computer printer, electronic display and other high-tech manufacturing jobs that sprouted here, lasted a couple decades and then were offshored by the thousands?

“It’s a good question, and that specter’s always been out there,” says Tim McCabe, director of Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency. “If China’s cheating, we have to stop that.”

McCabe and other energy and economic development specialists say solar and wind are essential to counter global warming and that Portland is ideally suited to foster more jobs in the field. And representatives of three major wind and energy companies that the Portland area has landed say they’re here for the long haul.

Read more at the Portland Tribune.

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