Green Economy Obama creates more green jobs than keystone pipeline project would create

Published on January 19th, 2012 | by Tina Casey


New Green Jobs Rise from Keystone XL Pipeline Ashes

January 19th, 2012 by  

Obama creates more green jobs than keystone pipeline project would createWhen President Obama put the seal of doom on a construction permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, supporters of his decision were quick to point out that the pipeline will not create a significant number of permanent jobs, and that the President already has initiatives in place that create far more green jobs in the alternative energy sector. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. New green technologies that have been in development for the past few years are beginning to hit the market, particularly in the building industry, which means that more individual property owners have the opportunity to chip in their own efforts for green job creation.

Solar Power from Solar Shingles

One consumer technology that CleanTechnica has been following for a while is a rooftop solar product from Dow Solar (a Dow company), called Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles. Dow announced that it was developing a thin-film solar technology integrated right into the roofing material back in 2009, predicting a mass market product by 2011. They weren’t far off the mark. In the summer of 2011 Dow started building a new solar shingle factory in Michigan, and it announced plans to start marketing the product in Colorado. In its latest announcement, the company has selected the first three dealers in Colorado authorized to sell the solar shingles.

Innovation and Green Jobs

Aside from creating new opportunities for property owners to participate in the green revolution, companies like Dow are also investing in the intellectual growth of U.S. innovators, through government and academic partnerships. Dow is an important partner in the “cool roofs” component of U.S. Department of Energy’s Sunshot Initiative, which is aimed at bringing the cost of solar power down to parity with fossil fuels. Dow was also a primary sponsor of DOE’s 2011 Solar Decathalon – a competition to promote energy efficiency and innovation in the building industry – and supported two of the 19 college teams that participated.

The Obama Administration and Green Jobs

White House blogger Heather Zichal mapped out the big picture in a post related to the Keystone announcement, noting that the number of jobs created by Keystone has already been dwarfed by the 60,000 jobs (or more) set to be created by 40 clean energy projects supported through federal loan guarantees, along with job creation potential related to EPA’s new standards for mercury and air toxics.

Green Jobs and Stronger Communities

One of the Dow-supported projects in the Solar Decathlon was called the Empowerhouse Project, which Dow describes as a home that “embodies the vision of Habitat for Humanity — that all people deserve safe, comfortable, affordable homes.” That, in a nutshell, expresses the full potential of sustainable job creation. In contrast to the path we’ve trodden since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, in which job creation is almost necessarily involved with increased pollution, we’re looking at the potential for creating new jobs that help to build stronger, healthier communities.

Image: Sprout.  License Attribution Some rights reserved by Presidente.

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

  • The DOE didn’t misspell decathlon, and you shouldn’t either. Nor is “treaded” the past form of “tread”, unless you’re referring to treading water, which you weren’t. As ever, thanks for the article about important stuff, but as ever, Tina, couldn’t you try using a spelling and grammar checker?

  • Jeremygerardi12

    I’ve looked into this project with an open mind looked at both sides, from both countries. Pipelines are essential to long term security, but obviously using more diverse sources. It is not the be all end all, but if the pipe has passed all environmental standards, has been over engineered in terms of strength, then is the opposition over not wanting tar sand production rather than saying its unsafe.
    I understand, about clean energy can produce more jobs. I also understand we need other sources for transportation,but what I don’t get is that with private money being invested and increase GDP with more oil. Bio-fuels are still very expensive compared to petroleum. What I believe we should do is to do both. Until the cost curb is competitive, with comparable energy of bio-fuels relative to petroleum we need short, medium, and long term strategy. To you point that construction jobs in this case is short term, like almost all infrastructure projects. Comparing manufacturing of solar shingles and construction of a pipeline is an unfair assessment. I wish there were more incentives, or energy spending within Canada and USA at the federal, but we gotta take what we can get. Whether we can replace great fraction of petroleum for other forms for transportation, China will still use it for plastics.

    • 10 reasons the Keystone XL was a bad project, includes responses to all your project-level concerns:

      • Jeremygerardi

        Obama and his enviro buddies are using this as an end round to prevent the production of tar sand oil. The real desicion should be based solely on the impact of the pipeline itself. The pipeline can and will be built safety, this is hundred year old technology. The real issue here is the dirty oil. Which is completely unfair to transcanada. America is a democracy and the rules should be applied fairly to everyone. The pipeline will meet environmental standards and therefore should be approved. If Obama wants to regulate the oil industry then he should do in a fair way that punished all pollutors equally in a fair way and that pick on canada.

        • The pipeline has not had a thorough environmental review. You can’t make those claims until it has. And there’s plenty of indication you’re wrong. The GOP tried to rush an environmental review by imposing an arbitrary deadline as a rider to a completely unrelated bill that had to pass. That was their mistake if they wanted the pipeline to have a chance.

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