The renewable energy and energy efficiency industries represented more than 9 million jobs and $1,045 billion in U.S. revenue in 2007, according to a new report by The American Solar Energy Society (ASES), Boulder, CO, and Management Information Services, Inc (MISI), Washington, DC. ASES adds that the renewable energy industry grew three times as fast as the U.S. economy in 2007, with solar thermal, photovoltaic, biodiesel and ethanol sectors leading the way, each with more than a 25 percent annual revenue growth. For information on the new ASES Green Collar Jobs report, visit www.ases.org/greenjobs.
“There’s a new sense of optimism in the green economy,” said Brad Collins, executive director, ASES. “But while the U.S. could see million of new jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency, this will only happen with the necessary leadership, research, development, and public policy at the federal and state levels.”
Key steps include a national renewable portfolio standard, long-term extension of the production tax credit, effective net metering policies, and improved access to electric transmission infrastructure.
Some of the main conclusions from this report include:
• As many as 37 million jobs can be generated by the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries in the U.S. by 2030 – more than 17% of all anticipated U.S. employment.
• The hottest sectors include solar thermal, solar photovoltaics, biofuels and fuel cells (in terms of revenue growth).
• Hot job areas include electricians, mechanical engineers, welders, metal workers, construction managers, accountants, analysts, environmental scientists and chemists.
• Renewable energy and energy efficiency can create millions of well-paying jobs, many of which are not subject to foreign outsourcing.
• The renewable energy industry grew more than three times as fast as the U.S. economy in 2007 (not including hydropower). Renewable energy is also growing more rapidly than the energy efficiency industry, but the energy efficiency industry is currently much larger than the renewable energy industry.
Government Action Needed Now
The report stressed that while there is huge opportunity ahead, there is also a sense of urgency. Every year’s delay by policymakers (2009, 2010) has a highly disproportionate and negative impact on long-range growth. The longer that policymakers delay in implementing ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, the more difficult it will be to achieve the report’s goals by 2030, ASES reported.
Unless quick action is taken, the U.S. risks losing millions of green jobs to other nations that offer a more serious and sustained commitment to growing its green economy. Germany, for example, has five times the wind sector jobs and four times the photovoltaic solar jobs than the U.S. Germany also produces one-half the wind rotors in the world, one-third the solar panels in the world and leads the world in biodiesel production.