Report Finds Policy Linked to Clean Energy Jobs

By Published On: September 4, 2014

Clean energy projects are continuing to create new jobs in California, according to Environmental Entrepreneurs’ second quarter jobs report released Aug. 28. “These are no longer the jobs of the future,” said Bob Keefe, Environmental Entrepreneurs executive director. “These are the jobs of today.” California employers in the clean energy field announced plans to hire 2,512 new workers during the second quarter of 2014, placing the state just behind Arizona in green job hiring prospects, according to the report. Arizona companies announced plans for 3,060 new hires, largely due to new solar projects. California made gains in the fields of solar energy, electric vehicles, biomass, clean fuels, and energy efficiency, according to the report. It continues to be a leader among states in creating green jobs largely because of its stable clean energy policies, according to company executives. “The most important thing we look for is consistency of policy to know where the market will move,” said John Cheney, founder of power project development company Silverado Power. California’s greenhouse gas reduction law, renewable energy portfolio standard, energy efficiency standards, and other programs are attracting companies from out of state and abroad to open satellite operations, said Nancy Floyd, managing director of Nth Power, a green venture capital company in San Francisco. She noted that Siemens and Johnson Controls are making investments in California. Siemens, for instance, recently announced plans to build an electric truck roadway at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Electric trucks are to carry cargo from ships powered by overhead power lines, similar to an electric trolley system. Johnson Controls announced plans to open an energy efficiency center in Sacramento. Nexant is another company that’s hiring people in California, where it manages five different energy efficiency programs for utilities that save their power customers $18 million annually while employing hundreds of people, said Jonathan Foster, company chief financial officer. The next big policy driver for clean energy jobs is likely to be President Barack Obama’s Clean Energy Plan, the clean energy executives said. It calls for the power industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Keefe said that energy efficiency programs that allow power plants to cut back on their operations in order to meet the proposed federal standards could create as many as 275,000 jobs across the nation. “There’s a very healthy, growing clean tech economy,” said Floyd. The key to keeping up the growth is to have stable and orderly energy policies, she and other executives said. Rescinding clean energy policies—which they said is the goal of the fossil fuel industries—could dramatically hamper future growth.

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