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Dow Corning CEO Burns Calls For Green Jobs

by Michael McCoy
December 14, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 50

Dow Corning CEO Stephanie A. Burns was one of about 130 businesspeople, economists, and politicians invited to the White House jobs summit on Thursday, Dec. 3. There, she held up Dow Corning’s business in making polysilicon for solar cells as a successful creator of so-called green jobs. Through its Hemlock Semiconductor joint venture, Dow Corning produces polysilicon for semiconductor wafers and, increasingly, photovoltaic cells. Hemlock has invested $5 billion over the past five years to expand operations in Michigan and build new facilities in Tennessee. Burns told attendees that the U.S. isn’t capturing the photovoltaic industry’s full potential. “Green jobs are real,” she told reporters. “But what is frustrating to us is that our raw material gets shipped offshore, and other countries convert it into wafers and modules. They then come back to the U.S. for installation. Our goal is to have that value chain and those manufacturing jobs in the U.S.” To encourage more U.S. manufacturing in renewable energy, Burns proposed at the summit that the cap on the U.S. advanced energy manufacturing tax credit be doubled to $4.6 billion. Like several other big chemical companies, Dow Corning favors climate-change legislation that will put a price on carbon dioxide emissions. “As we look forward, we will have a price on carbon,” Burns said, “and that price on carbon will mean that renewables will be much more competitive.”


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