What Politicians Need to Know about Clean Energy Jobs

Nov. 11, 2014
Clean energy jobs know no political boundaries, says Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). The non-partisan organization’s latest jobs report shows Republican and Democrat states, alike, gaining jobs from clean energy.

American politics is mired in team picking. Unfortunately, most  causes are designated as friend to one political party or the other. And if you’re not my friend, you’re my enemy.

Job creation, however, captures the allegiance of  both Republicans and Democrats.  Job creation also is one of the major paybacks from a clean energy economy.

That’s the message the non-partisan Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) delivered in its latest jobs report two days after the November 4 election that gave Republicans control of Congress.

“Clean energy knows no political boundaries,” concluded  Clean Energy Works for US: Q3 2013 Job Report, which tracks job announcements in both Democrat and Republican congressional districts.

E2 found that Republican districts were the source of about 9,095 clean energy job announcements and Democrat districts about 7,690 jobs. An additional 1,250 occurred in districts that span both parties, during the quarter.

Given those numbers, Republicans who think clean energy is on the other team, may want to look a little closer at the shirt it wears before they vote.

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Manufacturing boost

Here are some more interesting findings by E2, a business group whose members lay claim to creating 570,000 jobs and managing more than $100 billion in venture and private
equity capital.

The third quarter brought the highest number of manufacturing jobs – 9,800 – announced since E2 began tracking them three years ago.  The big boost came largely from Tesla, with its plans for a battery ‘Gigafactory’ in Nevada, and Solar City which is creating its own version of a gigafactory, this one a solar panel manufacturing operation in Buffalo, New York.

With that, Nevada and New York ranked highest for clean energy job announcements, followed by California, Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, Connecticut, Louisiana and Texas, with Illinois and Maryland tied for tenth.

On the energy efficiency front, E2 said it has tracked 25,000 jobs since 2011 in building and appliance efficiency.  Hopes run high for far more energy efficiency jobs if Obama’s Clean Power Plan goes forward as scheduled. The National Resources Defense Council has projected that the national greenhouse gas reduction strategy could create as many as 274,000 energy efficiency jobs by 2020 and save American businesses and homeowners $37.4 billion annually, the report said.

E2 also pointed out that the military continues to drive the clean energy innovation with renewable and energy efficiency installations. E2 has created a new web page  to follow military progress.

The Future?

The future could hold even more clean energy jobs from fuels cells and energy storage, with not only Tesla, but also General Electric and Doosan Fuel Cell America moving strongly into the space. (In addition, after the E2 report was released Southern California Edison announced plans to sign contracts for 261 MW of energy storage and 135 MW of energy efficiency. Meanwhile, Texas utility Oncor laid out its strategy to  secure  5,000 MW of grid-connected energy storage.)

So the good news is that the election is over (No more campaign phone calls and emails!) The even better news is that the clean energy jobs market is growing. The bad news is that no one’s sure how the newly elected Congress will affect this job growth.

E2 has some advice:

“Now it’s time to live up to the stump-speech promises. One easy way to create jobs and drive economic growth in both red and blue states alike is by moving quickly to extend clean energy and energy efficiency tax incentives and other smart policies,” said Bob Keefe, E2 executive director.

Here’s hoping.

The E2 report is available here.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is the editor and founder of EnergyChangemakers.com. She is co-founder and former editor of Microgrid Knowledge.