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Iron workers construct the framework of a $4 billion Panasonic electric vehicle battery plant on May 18, 2023, near DeSoto, Kan. (AP) Iron workers construct the framework of a $4 billion Panasonic electric vehicle battery plant on May 18, 2023, near DeSoto, Kan. (AP)

Iron workers construct the framework of a $4 billion Panasonic electric vehicle battery plant on May 18, 2023, near DeSoto, Kan. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher May 22, 2023

If Your Time is short

  • States ranking high in attracting renewable energy jobs have given billions of dollars in incentives to companies that manufacture products such as electric vehicles and their batteries.

  • The companies and experts say grants, tax breaks and other subsidies are top factors considered by companies in deciding where to locate.

  • The states have also adopted other policies aimed at attracting green jobs.

By one count, U.S. companies have announced 142,000 renewable energy jobs since the climate change-focused Inflation Reduction Act became law in August.

Georgia, Kansas, Michigan and New York are leading in renewable energy job creation, according to Climate Power, a liberal media operation founded by the League of Conservation Voters, Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Sierra Club.

They represent a mix of red, blue and swing states, but they have one thing in common: Each has offered incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars to attract companies making clean-energy products.

Although the incentives are substantial, the states have also adopted other policies aimed at attracting green jobs.

"Subsidies and incentives are important, of course," said Bob Keefe, executive director of E2, a group of business leaders that advocates for policies promoting the economy and environment. "These states are smart to use them to attract jobs that pay better than most and are on the leading edge of the biggest economic revolution we’ve seen in generations."

Here’s a look at the four states listed by Climate Power as landing commitments for the most renewable energy jobs since President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes clean-energy tax credits to boost investment in solar, wind, hydropower and other renewable energy.

Since August 2022, Georgia added 12,888 renewable energy jobs; Kansas added 20,600; Michigan 13,702; and New York 13,355, by Climate Power’s count.

Georgia: Aiming to be a hub for electric vehicle and battery manufacturing 

Led by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia has committed billions in property tax breaks, grants, worker training and tax credits in its aim to become an EV and battery manufacturing hub — something the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported is "a priority among state leaders." 

The subsidies included $358 million in state and local incentives to FREYR Battery, a Norwegian developer of battery cell production capacity. FREYR said in November it plans to invest $2.57 billion at a manufacturing facility outside of Atlanta, creating 723 new jobs over the next seven years. The state provided $228 million in property tax breaks over 20 years.

Georgia officials have said that landing FREYR was important because it was a new type of renewable energy employer, and that having it would attract related businesses, such as companies that produce battery parts.

Landing large companies also draws their suppliers to locate in Georgia, Keefe said.

FREYR said workforce was the most important factor in choosing Georgia, but incentives "of course play an important role."

Engineering professor Timothy Lieuwen, executive director of Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute, said incentives signal to companies that Georgia has prioritized renewable energy jobs. But, he said, companies also value factors such as a skilled workforce and transportation hubs. 

"This is not a race to the bottom, where whoever gives out the biggest tax breaks gets the company," he said. "There’s a much broader ecosystem that companies like this are looking for."

Georgia has landed renewable energy jobs because for 10 years, it has made those jobs a priority by working with its technical college system to encourage research helpful to such companies and to offer programs that train workers, Lieuwen said. 

Kansas: largest economic development project in state history

Panasonic Energy Co. in November started construction on a $4 billion electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in southwestern Kansas. It’s expected to create up to 4,000 jobs. 

(Climate Power credited Kansas with 20,600 new jobs, though 16,500 of them are temporary construction jobs for the Panasonic project.)

The state called the Panasonic facility the largest economic development project in Kansas history. 

Kansas’ $1.27 billion in state and local subsidies for Panasonic — primarily tax credits — were awarded with no job-creation requirements, according to Good Jobs First, a Washington D.C.-based research and policy group that monitors corporate tax breaks.

Such subsidies, the group said, "amount to states taking credit for good news that is already unfolding," because demand is already high for products such as electric vehicles.

Patrick Lowry, Kansas Commerce Department spokesperson, said the $829 million in state incentives for Panasonic — the largest of which is a $500 million tax credit for investments — will be paid only after Panasonic makes investments and hires workers. The plant offers a "jumpstart for Kansas to establish an entirely new industry in the state," he said.

Kansas promotes payments, tax credits, tax exemptions and other incentives it offers for renewables. It has also set a statewide goal for electric utilities to generate or purchase 20% of peak demand power from renewable sources and has created a public-private coalition to pursue federal funding for hydrogen energy production.

Michigan: electric vehicle focus 

In October, Michigan-based Our Next Energy announced that it would invest $1.6 billion and create 2,112 jobs at a battery manufacturing plant outside of Detroit. The state provided a $200 million grant.

The same month, the state highlighted incentives in announcing that Fremont, California-based Gotion Inc. planned to spend $2.36 billion and create 2,350 jobs at a battery component manufacturing complex in western Michigan. The state provided $715 million in grants.

Both sets of grants were awarded through a program created in 2021 to promote economic development. In both projects, the state said the incentives were needed for Michigan to compete with other states.

The Clean Jobs Midwest group credited a Michigan state government initiative, the MI Healthy Climate Plan, with setting policies that help attract renewable energy jobs. One goal of the plan is to build enough infrastructure to support 2 million electric vehicles on Michigan roads by 2030.

The World Resources Institute, an environmental group, released a report May 4 urging Michigan to offer more economic incentives in order to be a leader in the manufacturing of electric vehicles and EV batteries. Among the recommendations: incentives that encourage companies to remain in Michigan and require them to invest in the state’s education and workforce training systems. 

John Laitner, who describes himself as a progressive energy and resource economist in Tucson, Arizona, said that in the long run, incentives such as funding for workforce training are more effective than tax breaks for both companies and states.

"We need to think more about investment than spending," he said. 

New York: Creating job tax credits for chip companies 

Idaho-based Micron Technology announced in October that it plans to invest up to $100 billion in central New York to manufacture microchips for EVs and other technologies.

The state gave $5.5 billion in tax credits, which "are critical to support hiring and capital investment," the company said.

The incentives are tied to the company making the investment and creating 9,000 new jobs, the state said

The incentives were based on a 2022 New York law that makes chip companies eligible for job tax credits of up to $500 million per year for up to 20 years for each plant they build in the state.

Justin Henry, spokesperson for Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, said the incentive package also requires Micron to follow New York law to submit a plan, approved by the state, that mitigates the project's greenhouse gas emissions.

Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, said that besides subsidies, "New York has been intentional about converting to renewables for a long time." 

He cited state programs such as "green career" job training. For example, the Center for Energy Efficiency and Building Science provides energy efficiency training for contractors, remodelers and students. 

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Our Sources

Financial Times, "Big subsidies and ‘shovel ready’ sites: US states woo clean energy firms," Feb. 6, 2023

Inside Climate News, "Look out, California: one of the country’s largest solar arrays is taking shape in … Illinois?", April 13, 2023 

The Washington Post, "America needs clean electricity. These states show how to do it," April 12, 2023

Climate Power, "The Clean Energy Boom In The States," May 3, 2023

Climate Power, "Clean Energy Boom," March 31, 2023

American Clean Power, "Clean Energy Investing in America," April 2023

Email, Patrick Lowry, Kansas Commerce Department spokesperson, May 15, 2023

Email, Justin Henry, spokesperson for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, May 12, 2023

Micron Technology, "Micron announces historic investment of up to $100 billion to build megafab in central New York," Oct. 4, 2022

The Hill, "100K clean energy jobs announced since climate bill became law: analysis," Feb. 6, 2023

World Economic Forum, "Here's how the Inflation Reduction Act is impacting green job creation," March 14, 2023

The New York Times, "Companies flock to Biden’s climate tax breaks, driving up cost," May 3, 2023

Hanwha Qcells, "U.S. Solar Manufacturing Expansion Plan," Jan. 11, 2023

New York Times, "Korean Solar Company Plans to Build $2.5 Billion Plant in Georgia," Jan. 11, 2023

Green Careers NY, "Center for Energy Efficiency & Building Science," accessed May 17, 2023

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Solar panel maker Qcells expected to announce huge Georgia expansion," Jan. 9, 2023

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "State, local officials offer $1.5B to land Rivian project," May 2, 2022

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "State, locals offered $1.8B in incentives for Hyundai EV plant," July 22, 2022

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "SK and Hyundai plan Georgia electric vehicle battery plant, 3,500 jobs," Dec. 8, 2022

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "In bid for big battery plant, Georgia anted up $358M in incentives," Jan. 13, 2023 

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "New details emerge about Georgia's latest EV battery plant," (via Nexis) March 2, 2023 

Email, Bob Keefe, executive director of E2, May 17, 2023, "See the incentives that helped lure Micron to central New York," Oct. 11, 2022, "Battery nanufacturer to invest $2.57B, create over 700 jobs in Coweta County," Nov. 11, 2022

FREYR, "Battery Announces Plans for U.S. Gigafactory in Georgia," Nov. 11, 2022

Georgia Business Chronicle, "Georgia outshines rival for major solar manufacturing expansion," (via Nexis) Feb. 1, 2023

Fortune, "Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is bringing an up to $5 billion electric battery plant to the Atlanta suburbs," Dec. 8, 2022 

Michigan Economic Development Corp., "Gov. Whitmer announces 2,000 new ojbs, investment of $1.6 billion as Michigan-based Our Next Energy builds battery nanufacturing campus in Wayne County," Oct. 5, 2022, "MI Healthy Climate Plan," April 2022

Clean Energy Midwest, "A Return to Rapid Clean Energy Job Growth in Michigan," accessed May 17, 2023

Detroit News, "EV battery maker nets $236.6M in tax incentives for Wayne County plant," Oct. 6, 2022 

World Resources Institute, "A roadmap for Michigan’s electric vehicle future," May 4, 2023

Good Jobs First, "Will EVs Create Budget Potholes for States?", October 2022

Our Next Energy, "ONE announces $1.6 billion investment in 20 GWh Michigan cell factory beginning LFP production in 2024," Oct. 5, 2022, "Michigan startup investing $1.6B in EV battery gigafactory, creating 2,112 jobs," Oct. 5, 2022, "Michigan gives $175M to Gotion electric vehicle project despite backlash," April 20, 2023

Michigan Senate, "Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund update," March 7, 2023

Automotive News, "Details emerge on $2.4 billion EV battery plant in West Michigan," Sept. 23, 2022

New York Governor, "Landmark partnership creates largest investment in a manufacturing project in New York state history; the new megafab will create nearly 50,000 jobs, plus thousands of prevailing wage construction jobs," Oct. 4, 2022

Panasonic, "Panasonic Energy breaks ground on EV battery factory in Kansas," Nov. 2, 2022, "Groundbreaking held for massive Panasonic battery plant in De Soto," Nov. 2, 2022, "Renewable Energy Goal," Nov. 18, 2022 

Kansas Commerce Department, "Kansas Lands $4B, 4,000-job Panasonic Energy electric vehicle battery plant," July 13, 2022

Kansas City Star, "Kansas to give Panasonic $4.9 million building for free after millions in tax incentives," (via Nexis) Feb. 2, 2023

Interview, Climate Power spokesperson Eden Alem, May 8, 2023

Interview, Greg LeRoy, executive director, Good Jobs First, May 8, 2023

Email, Kasia Tarczynska, Good Jobs First senior research analyst, May 8, 2023

Interview, economist John "Skip" Laitner, May 8, 2023

Interview, engineering professor Timothy Lieuwen, executive director of Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute and Regents professor and David S. Lewis Jr. chair of the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, May 9, 2023

The Associated Press, "‘War of the states’: EV, chip makers lavished with subsidies," April 1, 2023

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