Sizing up the benefits of sustainable energy

Regular readers of EiD will know we try and find articles from local newspapers and websites where possible, to get a sense of what is going on at the local level. Here is a post from Ron Kamen for the Poughkeepsie Journal in New York State explaining the benefits that have come from investments in sustainable energy. It is interesting to note that of the jobs created, four out of five are related to energy efficiency.

 

Clean energy will bolster both the economy and future

Clean energy employs more than 85,000 people statewide, according to Clean Jobs New York, a report released recently by partners in the New Yorkers for Clean Power campaign.

That’s thousands more jobs than investment banking. It’s comparable to the number of construction jobs all across New York state.

And it means there are 85,000 reasons why New York should continue to strengthen clean energy policies at the state level.

The vast majority of these 85,000 clean energy workers — about four in five — make our homes, businesses and schools more energy efficient. They earn a good living by doing things like retrofitting lighting systems at car dealerships, manufacturing EnergyStar-rated kitchen appliances, and installing modern windows that slash school district energy bills.

In addition to tens of thousands of energy efficiency jobs, another 12,400 New Yorkers work in clean, renewable energy. They install rooftop solar arrays in Poughkeepsie, design offshore wind farms that will keep the lights on in Long Island for decades to come, and bore holes 300 feet deep into the ground for geothermal systems near the Finger Lakes.

Another 650 New Yorkers work in clean vehicles, helping ensure we’ll see an ever-increasing number of zero-emission electric vehicles driving down the road.

All told, New York’s clean energy jobs are growing at a nearly 7-percent clip — more than twice our nation’s overall economic growth rate.

Where, exactly, are New York’s diverse clean energy jobs located? Clean energy puts people to work in every New York county and congressional district. In Dutchess County alone, about 1,250 of our neighbors have clean energy jobs. In the surrounding counties — Columbia, Orange, Putnam, and Ulster — a combined 3,300-plus people work in the clean energy industry.

The jobs are searchable at http://www.e2.org/clean-jobs-ny.

New York’s clean energy job growth is the direct result of an effective combination of innovative small and mid-sized businesses, rapidly increasing private-sector investments, and common sense policies at the local, state and federal levels.

In Albany, for instance, AWS Truepower, founded in the 1980s by Bruce Bailey, employs dozens of people who help investors and developers identify where renewable energy projects should be sited, based on wind and sun resources. Of its 120 employees worldwide, 70 are located at the company’s Albany headquarters.

Across the globe, some $330 billion was invested in clean energy last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Last fall, Goldman Sachs announced it will invest $150 billion in clean energy by 2025 — quadrupling the Wall Street bank’s clean energy investments. And that only scratches the surface of what’s to come. For the world to meet the international climate agreement announced late last year in Paris and avoid the worst effects of climate change, $1 trillion a year is needed in clean energy investments through 2050.

Gov. Cuomo, meanwhile, has accelerated New York’s leadership in attracting clean energy businesses to our state. Visionary policies like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), as well as the leadership of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the $1 billion NY-Sun initiative that aims to add three gigawatts of solar capacity within the next few years, have been instrumental in establishing New York state as a national clean energy powerhouse.

To maintain our competitive edge, Gov. Cuomo and NYSERDA must continue their leadership by implementing the portion of the Clean Energy Standard that sets up a 50 percent renewables requirement by 2030, further strengthening RGGI’s post-2020 emission reduction targets, and doubling down on energy efficiency by establishing clear and ambitious statewide targets.

Smart policies and nimble, growing clean energy businesses are expanding our economy. Across New York, 85,000 of our friends and neighbors are building our clean energy future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s