By: Jordana Levine
In 2006, there were 8.5 million Americans working in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RE & EE) industries. By 2030, the country could potentially have up to 40 million green collar jobs. That’s one in four Americans bringing in a total of $4.5 trillion in revenue for the US instead of the $970 billion in 2006.
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: Economic Drivers for the 21st Century, released by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), discusses the importance of making RE&EE jobs available. The report describes different types of jobs in the industry and the plethora of positions that could be available in the next couple of decades.
Roger Bezdek, the principal investigator of the study, stresses the importance of investing in RE&EE industries before other countries take the lead and reap economic and environmental benefits before the US gets the chance. If little action is taken, there will be almost no increase in jobs and revenue, but if the US “pushes the envelope,” it could lead to a 30% increase in the amount of RE available and EE products b 2030.
The predictions include both direct and indirect jobs. Direct jobs involve people working for a solar company, say building solar panels. An indirect job would involve someone working for a company that sells silicon to the solar company.
The report also examines job levels in:
* Federal, state, local, non-governmental organizations and foundations.
* Manufacturers of energy efficiency (EE) products.
* Renewable Energy (RE) technologies include hydroelectricity, biomass, geothermal, wind, photovoltaic and solar thermal energy. In 2006, renewable energy made up only 6% of US energy.
The report uses Ohio as a case study. Over 10 years, overall US employment has increased more than five times as fast as Ohio’s. However, a significant boost in RE&EE employment could increase the state’s number of jobs by over 1.7 million and revenues by over $220 billion.
All jobs in a renewable energy company, may not seem ‘green’ — for instance the majority of jobs created by the RE&EE industry are ‘standard’ jobs, such as accountants, clerks, secretaries, cashiers, factory workers and truck drivers. In fact, the report explains that there are many more ‘standard’ jobs that will be created compared to ones you would naturally think are ‘green’ such as those for biochemists, environmental engineers, conservation workers and other environmentally specialized positions. ‘Standard’ jobs created in green industries are counted as ‘green’ jobs in the report.