There’s a lot more to an industry’s economic contribution than the end manufacturer. That’s a key message from the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), which found a wide range of Wisconsin companies make up the state’s renewable energy supply chain. According to the center’s new study [PDF], 171 companies comprise the state’s wind energy supply chain and 135 companies are counted in the state’s solar energy supply chain.
The list of companies doesn’t just include startup cleantech firms, but a wide range of traditional companies from steelmakers, to electrical component manufacturers, to engineering firms. According to the study, the solar and wind industries in the state account for an estimated 12,000 jobs. Those jobs have grown over the years due to utility incentives and state policies supporting solar and wind energy.
Renewegy, a wind manufacturing company based in Oshkosh, Wis., said it plans to add 50 new employees over the next few years, the ELPC reported. The company builds and installs light commercial wind turbines. Company officials told the ELPC that 90 percent of their parts come from other Midwestern partners. And as its business grows, so will the supply chain companies linked to them.
In addition to Wisconsin, the ELPC has also completed wind and solar supply chain studies for four additional states in the Midwest – Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio. Together, the reports find more than 1,000 clean energy businesses that employ more than 50,000 people. Part of ELPC’s goal is to promote economic growth and environmental progress through clean energy.