WASHINGTON — More than 78,600 clean energy and clean transportation jobs were announced in 2013 at 260 projects tracked by the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).
Solar power generation was the year’s top sector with more than 21,600 jobs announced. Other strong sectors included building efficiency and public transportation. Job announcements were made in 46 states, with California’s roughly 15,400 jobs topping the list. Rounding out the Top 10 states for the year were: TX, HI, MD, MA, IL, NV, OR, NY and MO. The Top 10 states for the fourth quarter were: TX, AZ, NY, CA, IA, RI, HI, GA, ND and NM.
This is the second full year that E2 has tracked clean energy and clean transportation job announcements. Over the past two years combined, E2 has tracked more than 500 announcements that could create more than 186,500 jobs. The new report, as well as details on individual announcements, are available at www.CleanEnergyWorksForUs.org.
“Our report makes it clear. When we invest in clean energy and clean transportation, we put people to work in every corner of the country. Whether it’s a new wind farm in Iowa, an energy efficiency retrofit in Massachusetts, or a utility-scale solar array in Nevada, these projects require American ingenuity and labor. The sector is helping stimulate our economy,” said E2 Executive Director Judith Albert.
Last year’s job announcements were about 30 percent lower than in 2012. While this is in part due to our methodology, clean energy job growth also faced economic headwinds in 2013. These headwinds came from the continued low cost of natural gas, as well as attempts by renewable energy opponents to block or roll back favorable policies at the federal level and in numerous states.
“As a business owner, I see a strong need for long-term policies that can stimulate private investment in clean energy and energy efficiency. Businesses in this sector create jobs, save consumers money, and help our environment.
“But ongoing regulatory uncertainty takes a serious toll. Elected officials shouldn’t be holding back economic growth – they should be encouraging it,” said Geoff Chapin, CEO of Next Step Living, a Boston-based energy efficiency company.
In the fourth quarter alone, E2 tracked more than 70 projects nationwide that could create 13,000 jobs. Spikes in wind manufacturing and solar manufacturing added to the national quarterly total. Texas was the top state in the quarter, with as many at 3,200 jobs coming from eight projects, most of them in wind.
Here’s a closer look at some clean energy and clean transportation announcements in 2013:
* In California, the California Ethanol and Power Project will produce 66 million gallons of ethanol annually from sugar cane and sweet sorghum. Construction of a biofuels refinery and other facilities are expected to create 800 construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs in Rep. Juan Vargas’ district east of San Diego. “This is more evidence that the advanced biofuel industry is scaling up and putting people to work,” said Mary Solecki, director of E2’s Clean Fuels Program.
* In Texas, Nest Labs, acquired by Google on Feb. 7, announced 140 technical support and customer service jobs. The company has a growing customer base for its energy-saving thermostat. The announcement came from Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s district near Austin.
* In Massachusetts, Next Step Living, based in Boston, announced it expects to add 100 jobs by Q2 2014. The company has experienced rapid growth in its energy efficiency business.
* In New Jersey, Trinity Solar LLC installed solar panels at housing units at Joint Military Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington County, creating 120 jobs. Clean energy is an increasingly common presence on military bases nationwide.
Looking ahead, clean energy and clean transportation job growth could see an uptick in 2014 if Congress reinstates critical tax policies such as the wind industry production tax credit (PTC) and several energy efficiency tax incentives. Congress let these tax incentives expire at the end of 2013.
Clean energy jobs also could benefit from the rollout of the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, as well as from other elements of President Obama’s climate change initiative.