January 20, 2007

Green Jobs for America: Two Reports

As we near the break point of our oil dependency, a new vision for America's energy future is emerging. Two recently released reports focus on the employment implications of an invigorated changeover from fossil fuels to renewable fuels and green energy systems. New industries will emerge from this transition. Old skill-sets will be applied in new ways. As energy production decentralizes to exploit the myriad feedstocks and generation technologies that will develop, high value jobs will be created.

Writer/blogger Joel Makower wrote an article for Clean Edge Technologies that lists a number of regionalized reports on the green employment picture for America. He mentions Apollo Alliance, a highly visible an experienced coalition of labor and environmental groups, in his editorial and their Ten-Point Plan for Good Jobs and Energy Independence (summarized below). Coincidentally, I met Apollo Alliance President Jerome Ringo at the Biomass Coordinating Council meeting at the Power-Gen Conference in Las Vegas last week. As part of the "Apollo Initiative" his group has just published a comprehensive report called New Energy For America: Apollo Jobs Report which identifies job opportunities that will raise America's energy infrastructure while providing a broad range of economic and environmental benefits to the world.

Excerpts from Joel's editorial and each of the two reports are listed below:


Clean Technology: Where the Jobs Are
by Joel Makower

Over the past few years, a succession of cities, counties, regions, and states have sought to brand themselves as the "Silicon Valley" of clean technology, or some such moniker. About 18 months ago, Clean Edge prepared a strategy for the city of San Francisco (along with a subsequent progress report) on how to make that city a clean-tech magnet. Other studies have show the potential for clean energy and related technologies to create jobs in Arizona, New Mexico, New York, the Midwest U.S., the Northwest U.S. (PDF), and America as a whole.

Comes now the City of Angels, heralding "green technology" (in its parlance) as the new job-creation machine for Southern California. According to Jobs in L.A.'s Green Technology Sector, released recently by the Economic Roundtable,

"Los Angeles has unrealized opportunities to become a growing provider of 'green' goods and services, and through this growth to create decent jobs that benefit all residents of the city."

The Los Angeles study is noteworthy for the level of detail it offers, and for the broad occupational territory it covers.


Excerpts from the Report, prepared for the Department of Water and Power and the Workforce Investment Board of the City of Los Angeles by the ECONOMIC ROUNDTABLE.

Jobs in L.A.'s Green Technology Sector, 2006

Los Angeles has unrealized opportunities to become a growing provider of “green” goods and services, and through this growth to create decent jobs that benefit all residents of the city. To realize these opportunities Los Angeles has to make up lost ground because, compared to the U.S. economy, it has a below-average share of jobs in every significant green technology industry. Strengths that Los Angeles can build on include:
  • A large diverse economy with significant strengths in many green technology
  • Ambitious environmental goals and the need for innovative technologies to
    achieve those goals.
  • A growing consumer market for green products and services.
  • Significant public sector requirements for green products and services.
  • Exceptional intellectual assets in local universities and research institutions.

  • Key Policy Questions
    Can the business establishments that generate green products and services, as well as the manufacturers and service providers that supply them, expand in Los Angeles to create good paying jobs that benefit local residents equitably? The answer to this broad question rests on answers to several smaller questions:
    • How many businesses with environmentally linked activities already operate in
    the L.A. region?
    • Is the green technology sector expanding?
    • How many of their suppliers are locate here?
    • Which suppliers benefit most from growth in this industry?
    • What types of jobs does the green technology sector provide?
    • What types of skills are necessary to work in this sector?
    • Can entry-level workers find job opportunities in this sector?


    New Energy For America: Apollo Jobs Report
    from the Apollo Alliance

    The new Apollo Initiative calls for a large scale federal commitment, on the scale of $30 billion/year for 10 years, to achieve a new energy infrastructure that is diversified, environmentally safe, and more efficient. This initiative will turn challenge into opportunity. It will generate good jobs and help US companies capture the green markets of the future. It will reduce dependence on foreign oil. It will rebuild communities, and it will make America an environmental leader again, helping put the world on a path to a sustainable future.

    The new Apollo Initiative will achieve these benefits by pursuing four broad strategies:

  • Diversify our energy sources: making America less dependent on foreign oil, while making energy more secure, more affordable and reliable, and less polluting
  • Invest in the industries of the future: promoting new technology, improving manufacturing processes, and expanding markets for American durable goods.
  • Promote construction of high performance, energy efficient buildings: saving money and rebuilding more livable, more equitable, and healthier environments, and
  • Drive investment in cities and communities: renewing our commitment to building smart public infrastructure for transportation, energy, and other vital public services.

  • Taken together, these strategies combined with national commitment, public investment, meaningful standards, and political will, can bring about enormous benefits for both America and the world.

    And remarkably, by creating jobs and economic growth, this investment will generate sufficient new returns to the US treasury from increased income, to pay for itself over a ten year period.

    The Ten-Point Plan for Good Jobs and Energy Independence

    1. Promote Advanced Technology & Hybrid Cars
    2. Invest In More Efficient Factories
    3. Encourage High Performance Building
    4. Increase Use of Energy Efficient Appliances
    5. Modernize Electrical Infrastructure
    6. Expand Renewable Energy Development
    7. Improve Transportation Options
    8. Reinvest In Smart Urban Growth
    9. Plan For A Hydrogen Future
    10. Preserve Regulatory Protections


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