Tuesday, February 22, 2011

State Green Jobs Initiatives Need Federal Legislation

Green jobs are an important part of the President's strategy to get people working all across America. Regional initiatives demonstrate the effectiveness of capitalizing on the growth of green jobs. These initiatives have created jobs in states like New York, California and Missouri.

A program called Green Jobs/Green NY has the goal of retrofitting 1 million homes to make them more energy efficient. This program offers incentives to homeowners and provides free home-performance energy audits through approved contractors, a value of around $400, and up to $13,000 in low-interest loans (3.49 percent) to finance improvements. These improvements offer projected savings of roughly $1.20 for each dollar spent.

The cleantech industry is also providing green jobs throughout California, even in places like the San Joaquin Valley which has not benefited from previous booms. According to a new study [PDF] from by UC Merced Professor Dr. Shawn Kantor, renewable energy projects could bring more than 100,000 jobs to the area in the next few years. In California employment in clean energy grew 36% from 1995 to 2008, while San Joaquin Valley employment increased by 48% over the same period.

The San Joaquin Valley is expected to produce 10% of California’s renewable energy within the next ten years. According to Tom Cotter, Central California sales manager for Real Goods Solar and member of the California Business Alliance for a Green Economy, “These jobs are coming to California because of clean energy policies that make us a leader in the nation,”

Missouri is trying to combat high unemployment rates with green jobs. Over the last few years, as the overall unemployment climbed, green jobs kept growing across Missouri.

However, states need federal action to capitalize on the growth of the green economy. A new report from the Apollo Alliance shows that green jobs could proliferate if the US implemented strong clean energy and climate change policies. The “How to Keep Creating Clean Energy Jobs in Missouri” report finds that the right energy policies could create up to 88,000 jobs in Missouri alone by 2030.

The report indicates that the federal government needs to enact the right policies. This begins with a bill called the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act, which would support domestic manufacturing of cleantech and provide good paying jobs.

An energy standard of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025 could create up to 23,000 manufacturing jobs in Missouri by 2025. The report finds that improved vehicle efficiency standards paired with investments in domestic advanced vehicle manufacturing could create up to 6,000 new jobs in Missouri by 2020.

A cap on carbon emissions combined with strong energy-efficiency standards would create more than 7,000 more jobs by 2030, including building retrofitting.

The Appollo Alliance report indicates that success stories like ABB, Lost Creek Wind and Exergonix could become even more commonplace if the US implemented strong clean energy and climate change policies.

Despite meaningful efforts on the state level, there are no substitutes for comprehensive climate and energy legislation. America's high unemployment rate could be significantly reduced if Republicans in Congress would support the President's policies.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Tom Cotter said...

I am quoted in the article and want to give an update to the solar industry and jobs in 2012.

Today, the solar industry employs more than 100,000 Americans, double the amount of solar workers in 2009. They work at 5,600 companies, the vast majority being small businesses, in all 50 states. The U.S. solar energy market grew 140 percent in the third quarter of 2011 over the same quarter last year, making it the fastest growing sectors in the economy. We are creating jobs 7x faster than anyone else.

California is home to about 3,500 solar businesses that employ more than 25,000 people.

The solar industry projects continued explosive growth. Industry analysts predict the installation of more than 1 million residential solar projects in California by 2020, adding on the order of $30 billion to the economy and creating more than 20,000 new jobs per year.


The Green Market Oracle said...

Thanks for the update Tom.