Companies and communities across the country announced more than 300 clean energy and clean transportation projects in 2012 that are expected to create 110,000 jobs, according a report released today by Environmental Entrepreneurs.
“It’s now crystal-clear that clean energy and clean transportation are helping our economy recover,” said Judith Albert, executive director of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a nationwide network of business leaders who advocate for policies that benefit both the economy and the environment. “The projects and job announcements like we saw in 2012 can continue - as long as we don’t let smart energy policies get hijacked by special interests.”
The E2 report comes just weeks after President Obama announced goals to double our renewable energy and our energy efficiency – steps that will help our environment as well as our economy.
It also comes as groups and lobbyists backed by the fossil fuel industry are currently trying to derail clean energy policies, including state Renewable Portfolio Standards, in states across the country.
“State policies have done a lot to drive growth in the clean energy industry,” Albert said. “If lawmakers care about creating good, clean energy jobs in their neighborhoods, they should continue supporting those policies. If not, they can sit back and watch these good-paying jobs go elsewhere.”
In 2012, clean energy projects created jobs in every corner of the country and across both Republican and Democratic communities. California, North Carolina and Florida led the nation. Illinois, Connecticut, Arizona, New York, Michigan, Texas and Oregon rounded out the Top 10.
“There is a lot of interest in North Carolina right now for clean energy,” said E2 member John Robbins, president of Greathorn Development Corporation in Concord, N.C., which is working with a municipal airport in North Carolina and other airports elsewhere to reduce energy costs by adding solar power. “For all the right reasons, clean energy is growing in North Carolina - and it’s creating jobs and boosting our economy along the way.”
For the complete report as well as a searchable, state-by-state database of clean energy job announcements, see www.e2.org/cleanjobs.
As a region, the Southeast led the country in manufacturing-related clean energy job announcements, with more than 13,700 jobs announced last year, accounting for about 80 percent of the nation’s total. Solar, advanced vehicles and wind energy were the leading clean energy manufacturing industries in the Southeast.
Nationwide, clean transportation projects led the job growth last year, followed by clean power generation, manufacturing and energy efficiency projects.
In the fourth quarter of last year, nearly 16,000 clean energy and clean transportation jobs were announced, up from 10,800 in the third quarter, thanks in large part to a 7,000-job light rail announcement in Charlotte, N.C.
Clean transportation jobs aside, several sectors saw sharp declines in the fourth quarter, due in large part to regulatory uncertainty in Congress and during the 2012 election.
Most notably, the number of power generation jobs announced fell to about 3,600 in the fourth quarter from about 6,000 in the third quarter. In the wind industry alone, job announcements fell by more than 60 percent in the quarter in part because of delays by Congress to extend the critical wind industry Production Tax Credit.
“Smart policies and regulatory certainty– at both the federal and state levels – drive economic growth,” Albert said. “If 2012 taught us anything, it’s that if America wants to keep creating good, clean energy jobs, we need good, clean energy policies.”