Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was in Minnesota Thursday to announce $5 billion in financial incentives for companies that make green energy products. He also touted efforts to build an energy-efficient economy.
Geithner toured Honeywell International's plant in Golden Valley, and he participated in a round-table discussion with local politicians and labor and business leaders about efforts in Minnesota to create green jobs.
Geithner said the federal government must foster the innovation and investment needed to create green -- and other -- jobs. To that end, Geithner announced additional funding for a tax credit program for factories making clean energy products.
"We will expand the advanced energy manufacturing tax credit by $5 billion," Geithner said. "Now, this program provides a 30 percent tax credit for investments in factories that'll make products to power the clean energy economy."
A Treasury Department spokeswoman said the new credits are in addition to $2.3 billion in energy manufacturing credits that have already been funded and allocated. Among the original recipients was a Rogers, Minnesota firm that got a $9 million credit for equipment used to make wind turbines.
Overall, the administration's stimulus package set aside about $100 billion for clean energy.
Some two dozen business, labor and political leaders met with Geithner. Among them was Tom Gunkel, CEO of Mortenson Construction.
Gunkel said the success of the green energy industry will largely depend on the government enacting policies that support the use of renewable energy and the financing of plants and equipment. Gunkel also said the nation must develop a transmission network that efficiently moves green energy from rural America to major population centers. He said those moves are needed to win the support of investors.
"Confidence in that stream of business is what will drive investment in our clean energy manufacturing base and which will in turn produce the green manufacturing jobs we need and want so much," Gunkel said.
Honeywell, which hosted Geithner's visit, figures to get a kick from an increased focus on energy efficiency. But Josephy Puishys, president of Honeywell's environmental and combustion controls division, said it's too hard to tell how much of one at this point.
"Fifty percent of everything we do at Honeywell is geared toward energy savings," Puishys said.
Honeywell employs about 4,000 people in Minnesota. The company traces its history back to the invention of the thermostat in 1883.