Don't Just Take Our Word for It
Last month, I discussed a huge surge in U.S. clean energy jobs that we had noted in our Clean Jobs Index data. But don't just take our word for it… here is a sampling of other recent green jobs growth reports:
- SolarCity Adds 2,900 Employees in 2014: "SolarCity's employee base has grown 67 percent since the end of 2013, with the firm adding 2,900 employees in 2014 to date."
- Green Energy Jobs Surge Just in Time for Labor Day: "…it's certainly looking sunny for the sustainable energy and transportation sectors, which created some 12,500 new jobs in the second quarter of 2014, more than double the number of jobs added in Q1."
- Forbes reports on The States Adding The Most Clean Jobs Right Now.
- And from Fortune: Green Employment More Than Doubled in Second Quarter: "Solar installations jumped a record 41% last year and, after dropping off in the first quarter of 2014, are leading a mini-boom in renewable energy, adding more than 5,300 new jobs in April through June."
Fortune also adds that "Wind power is picking up speed too, adding about 2,700 jobs, with a ripple effect on turbine manufacturers, like Vestas in Colorado, which has added factory workers to meet demand."
What could the future hold?
- EU Green Jobs Boom Forecast: "Professional services consultancy Procorre says the European Commission estimates that reaching the 20% renewables target would create more than 400,000 jobs between 2011 and 2020."
- 2.7m New Jobs In Clean Energy & 40% Less Carbon Emissions: "A newly released report shows how the United States can cut its carbon pollution by 40 percent from 2005 levels. In the process, 2.7 million new clean energy jobs will be created, reducing the unemployment rate by 1.5 percentage points."
- Green Jobs on the Rise: Will the Growth Continue? "Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, announced last week that it plans to open a $5 billion factory in Nevada. The giant facility — they're calling it a 'gigafactory' — will employ 6,500 people to manufacture batteries for Tesla's much-anticipated low-cost Model 3 sedan."
LiveScience asks the same question about whether this green boom will last, as Natural Resources Defense Council executive director Peter Lehner explains:
The new federal carbon-pollution standards, proposed by EPA in June, are expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in a variety of fields as states broaden their efforts to cut pollution. Wind technicians, solar installers, factory workers, roofers, HVAC technicians and thousands of others will all be needed to expand clean energy and make homes and buildings more efficient.
Many of the new jobs announced this quarter stem from remnants of projects that qualified for a wind-energy tax incentive, a program which expired at the end of 2013. Clean-energy tax incentives, unlike many permanent oil and gas subsidies, have to be actively renewed by Congress — in some cases, every year. The last time these credits expired, thousands of jobs were lost and many clean energy projects sacrificed, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency.
Lehner elaborates on how long-subsidized fossil fuel interests are the main threats to the new EPA standards and the various federal and state incentives supporting clean power – and clean jobs. Yet, "Studies show that clean energy and efficiency investments generate more jobs per dollar than fossil fuel investments. A single wind energy project can create more than 1,000 jobs and provide millions of dollars to local communities."
Despite these facts, record fossil fuel profits are being poured back into efforts like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which "is funded by some of the nation's largest energy corporations including Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, and Peabody Energy." ALEC attacks clean energy policies at the state level. On the other end of the spectrum, it is estimated that every $1 "invested" by the fossil fuel industry in Congressional donations yields $59 – a 5,800% rate of return!
So while there is no guarantee that this encouraging clean jobs growth trend will continue, the best news is, as DeSmogBlog points out, "clean energy is taking off across the nation in red states and blue states alike (a phenomenon previously on display when Texas and California both set renewable energy records earlier this year)."
That sounds to me like a powerful incentive for bipartisan support to keep this whole clean jobs trend going.
Research more about Green Jobs through the Ecotech Institute Clean Jobs Index.
Kyle G. Crider (MPA, LEED AP ND) is a professional science and sustainability "story teller." In his spare time he is pursuing his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary (Environmental Health) Engineering and traveling the highways and by-ways of home state with his wife Beverly in search of fact, fiction, and folklore for Strange Alabama.