Volunteer State and Bredesen have the foresight to grab clean-energy opportunities
NASHVILLE – Texas may be willing to turn down the jobs that come with solar energy, but Tennessee is more than happy to welcome this 21st century industry and the economic benefits that go with it, members of the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus said Monday.
“Governor Bredesen has sent a strong message: Tennessee is ready, willing and able to be a center for the solar-energy industry,” Senator Lowe Finney of Jackson said. “With our Volunteer State Solar Initiative, West Tennessee will have the top solar energy-generating facility in the region.
“More than 600 Tennesseans will be hired to build the solar farm facility, and others will be hired to operate it.”
The story is altogether different in Texas, where legislators did an about-face over the weekend, voting down millions in incentives to draw solar investment to the state.
“Legislators in Texas have yanked the welcome mat for an industry that could pay huge dividends for their economy,” said Senator Jim Kyle of Memphis, who is a sponsor of the governor’s energy bill. “To any company that had an eye on Texas, we say come on up to Tennessee.”
Senator Roy Herron of Dresden, who worked with Senator Finney to get an industrial megasite in West Tennessee, said:
“With the latest megasite in place, West Tennessee is well positioned to attract companies that will bring in 21st century jobs. The new energy industry can play a big part in getting our local economies back on their feet.”
Senator Andy Berke of Chattanooga noted that clean-energy companies already are looking to Tennessee as a place to do business.
“Thanks to Governor Bredesen’s foresight, we’ll see solar components produced at Wacker Chemie in Bradley County and at Hemlock Semiconductor in Clarksville,” Sen. Berke said. “We’ve got the West Tennessee Solar Farm and an Oak Ridge-UT solar partnership in the works.
“With Volkswagen in Chattanooga and Nissan in Smyrna rolling out clean-energy vehicles, we can be part of the economic recovery: good-paying jobs for our middle class, freedom from our dependence on foreign oil and a stable economy for our children.
“Tennessee is steadily positioning itself as a hub for the energy economy of the future.”