Green Job Growth: So You’re Saying There’s A Chance?
Backed by one of the more environmentally-friendly presidents in recent memory, the United States has seen huge funding for alternative energy sources, a drive for better fuel economy, and a massive movement by colleges and other groups to live cleaner, greener, and more efficiently. Here are some encouraging statistics about the growth of jobs for work that benefits the environment:
Hydropower is estimated to have the potential of adding 1.4 million jobs by 2025
Every state has the potential to create hydropower projects, from ocean water, streams, or pumped storage water, meaning plants all over the country could be created and staffed with workers.
In March 2010, the government announced it would allocate $2 million toward grants for training military veterans in industries like bio-fuels, renewable electric power, energy-efficient construction, and more.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, green construction employed more than 1 million people from 2000 to 2008. This number is expected to rise to 3.3 million by 2013, about a 230% increase. Nearly half of American solar power firms plan to hire more workers: In August 2011, almost half of 2,100 solar power companies surveyed said they plan to add an expected 24,000 jobs by August 2012.
Compared to the fossil fuel industry’s negative growth rate of 2%, the nearly 7% growth in solar power jobs, including manufacturing and installation, is very promising.
A handful of companies like Volkswagen and Nissan Leaf and Storage Battery Manufacturing will help the state continue to see an 8% growth rate annually, with jobs like energy brokers and solar installation managers becoming available.
A recent report by non-profit research group Ceres found that because of new federal regulations for fuel efficiency, hiring will increase by automakers and companies that make fuel-efficient tech.
Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association Karl Gawell estimated in 2011 that new geothermal construction projects, which have no fuel costs and produce very little CO2, will add another 3,000 jobs in California, Nevada, and elsewhere.
The bio-fuel sector could produce 807,000 jobs by 2022 The Biotechnology Industry Organization said in late 2011 that the bio-fuel industry could produce hundreds of thousands of jobs while lowering U.S. oil imports by $70 billion.
In 2009 alone, Knoxville added more than 16,000 green jobs, helping lower the unemployment rate to 7.7% for the city, a full two points lower than the rest of the state.
Green jobs now outnumber jobs in the fossil fuels industry (although some have taken issue with the definition of “green job” used in the calculation).
Being home to clean-tech companies like LM Wind Power and CLEAResult Consulting helped Arkansas’ capital become one of the fastest-growing cities in America for green jobs.
This money has already helped sponsor 40 clean-tech projects that will eventually employ upwards of 60,000 people.
One out of every 15 workers in and around Albany has a clean job, or 6.7%, thanks in large part to the business of GE, which houses many of its clean-tech operations in Schenectady.
There is much, much more room for job growth in hydropower because out of the 500 gigawatt capacity, the U.S. is only making use of 100 gigawatts.
And what’s even more exciting is that the DOE program will cost taxpayers $2 billion less than originally expected.
Funded with $38 million from the Dept. of Labor, JFF will equip workers with skills necessary for the green industry, adding thousands of jobs to Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and more.
And that’s just the energy sector of green technology. This many jobs would inject trillions of dollars into a struggling world economy.
Job figures are certain to increase in “The Triangle,” the nickname applied to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, which already has one of the highest totals of green jobs in the country.
A 2011 report by The Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy stated that energy efficiency policies will produce 211,000 skilled, high-paying jobs and more than $11 billion in revenue for the state.
The city added 4,000 jobs during the period, and in one 18-month period the jobs helped lower unemployment nearly four percentage points.
A key part of the green movement is locally sourced, organic food. Farmers had plenty of work in 2010, as the markets’ surge in popularity swelled their numbers to 7,175 across the nation.
Since 2003, more than 2,500 green jobs have been created, moving the city’s total to over 5,200 green industry jobs and helping keep unemployment low.
The city’s 9,000-plus clean-tech jobs at manufacturing companies like Advent Solar and Schott AG have helped make it a hub of environmentally-friendly work.
The 927 jobs the Ogden area has added in recent years are thanks to openings created at green companies like recycling company American Specialty Glass Inc. and green manufacturer W.R. Grace & Co.
Richard Matthews is a consultant, sustainable investor, writer and owner of The Green Market Oracle, a leading sustainable business blog that covers the convergence of sustainable capitalism and the global environment.The Green Market is one of the most comprehensive resources for information and tools on sustainability. Follow The Green Market's twitter feed and see the Facebook Fan Page. Richard is a contributor to more than 50 publications. Find him on Facebook and Linkedin.
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