Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Texas' loss is our gain

Texas solar bill's death could benefit Tenn.
from Monday's Nashville Business Journal

If Texas doesn’t want money to develop solar energy, Tennesee will take it, say some state Democrats.

Over the weekend, Texas legislators let the clock run out on a bill that would have created a $500 million rebate program to build solar installations in the Lone Star State.

On Tennessee’s Capitol Hill today, Sen. Jim Kyle was quick to capitalize.

“To any company that had an eye on Texas, we say come on up to Tennessee,” says Kyle, D-Memphis, who is sponsoring Gov. Phil Bredesen’s energy bill.

Bredesen has proposed using $600 million in stimulus bill funds to create a Tennessee Solar Institute and West Tennessee Solar Farm that would bring together the resources of the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratories and new companies investing here that will produce solar components, including Wacker Chemie in Bradley County and Hemlock Semiconductor in Clarksville.

Those companies were attracted by a package of state incentives and infrastructure-ready industrial megasites.

“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,” says Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, who worked with Finney to get an industrial megasite in West Tennessee.

Bredesen hopes to position the state as a leader in developing alternative energy sources as part of his legacy as a two-term governor.

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