Politics & Government

Biden touts green energy to rebuild U.S. economy

Vice President Joe Biden arrived in the Triangle on Thursday and headed straight for the headquarters of a Durham company that has become a symbol of the Obama administration's economic hopes.

In front of excited employees and friendly local politicians, Biden praised LED maker Cree's energy-efficient lights as exactly the kind of products that the country needs to design, manufacture and export.

"I don't think I've ever seen a success story quite like this one here at Cree," Biden said. "It ties so muchinto what President Obama and I are trying to do."

Visiting Cree allowed the vice president to talk about both the 375 jobs Cree has added since February 2009 and the $39 million in federal tax credits the company has received under a stimulus program for green energy manufacturers.

Not directly mentioned were the half-million North Carolinians now out of work. The state's unemployment rate, which hit 11.1 percent in January, is the highest it has been since the state began keeping track in 1976.

Putting people back to work will require rebuilding the economy from the ground up, Biden said, and a key part of this new foundation is green energy.

Biden was joined at Thursday's event by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, who praised Cree for manufacturing its LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, in Durham.

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