Renewable energy and jobs: Build it and they will come

Feb. 5, 2010
A new study suggests that 274,000 additional jobs can be added to the U.S. economy if the country sets a goal of having 25% of its electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

In “Job Impacts of a National Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)” the research firm Navigant Consulting, Inc. focused on national renewable energy legislation as a complementary policy to comprehensive climate legislation and its impact on job creation. The study projected direct, indirect, and induced jobs supported by renewable-related project development, manufacturing, construction and operation in the presence of legislation mandating that 25% of U.S. electricity be generated by renewables by 2025.

It concluded that such legislation would result in 274,000 more jobs supported by the renewable electricity industry than without national legislation. Traditional manufacturing states – and states in the Southeast that have traditionally leaned toward coal for power generation — stand to benefit the most, the study found.

The biomass,hydropower, and waste-to-energy industries would see significant job gains in the Southeast U.S. under a strong national policy. Biomass jobs would double, with most of the increase concentrated in Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky.

The report also says meaningful near-term RES targets (12% by 2014 and 20% by 2020) are critical to ensure global competitiveness for the U.S. renewable electricity industry, and stronger long-term targets (25% by 2025) are needed to attract long-term manufacturing investment and project development.
Finally, Navigant says near-term targets are also necessary to mitigate a flattening or decline in industry-supported jobs that will otherwise occur across industries with the expiration of tax incentives and stimulus-related policies.

You can find the full report here:

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