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15,000 New Green Jobs Announced Across America In 3Q 2013

A new report says 15,000 green jobs were created across the US in 3Q 2013, but warns of negative impacts created by the looming wind tax credit expiration.

Temperatures may have started to cool across America as summer turned to fall, but the clean energy economy remained red hot, announcing 15,000 new green jobs in third quarter (3Q) 2013.

80 projects ranging from renewables to recycling and clean transportation were announced in 30 states, according to the latest green jobs report from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

E2 credited stable pro-renewable state policies for much of the new green jobs growth, but the report also warned of a looming slowdown across the wind energy industry if the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) is allowed to expire at the end of 2013.

Mixed Results For Green Jobs In 3Q

E2’s 3Q green jobs report paints a mixed picture for the overall strength of America’s clean energy economy. On one hand, far more new jobs were created in 3Q 2013 compared to 3Q 2012, which saw just 10,800 new jobs announced. But on the other hand, 3Q 2013’s jobs tally was less than half of the 38,600 jobs announced in 2Q 2013.

While 3Q’s total job announcements were much lower than 2Q, green jobs growth was much more diverse this quarter. Usual suspects like California, New York, Michigan, and Texas led the pack in total projects and jobs, but non-traditional clean energy states like Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee also ranked in the top 10 with roughly 15% of all new green jobs.

These states may be diverse in geography and economy, but one common theme is apparent in them all – stable state policies. Of the top five states for overall job announcements, only Texas does not have a statewide renewable energy target in place.

Renewable energy goals have been credited with turning California into the epicenter of the US clean tech market and Michigan into a burgeoning wind powerhouse, but they’ve also spurred growth in states like Nevada, which saw five new solar projects thanks to a 25% renewables by 2025 goal.

Policy Certainty Makes A Huge Difference

Similar to past reports, renewable energy technologies created the most green jobs, even as the wind industry braces for 2014. Solar energy kept shining with nearly 6,700 total jobs while the wind industry’s tailwinds chipped in nearly 1,800 jobs.

E2 notes the difference between stable and instable policy by comparing solar to wind. While the solar industry’s stable long-term Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has helped it generate 19,200 jobs during 2013, the wind industry has shown much slower growth of just 6,300 jobs this year – despite the PTC’s one-year renewal.

Even though wind may be slowing, America’s clean energy manufacturing industry kept pace with just under 3,300 green jobs across commodities like clean transportation, renewables, energy storage, smart grid, and energy efficiency.

Will Politics Hamper Diverse Economic Growth?

As a whole, E2’s reports continue to show the economic contributions clean energy can make across the country, regardless of political affiliation. Take a few minutes to scan E2’s clean energy jobs database, and the diversity of America’s clean energy economy is apparent.

But they also once again show the importance stable government policy holds for the transition toward America’s sustainable future. “Clean energy policies have a real impact on workers,” said Judith Albert, E2’s executive director. “Washington, DC may be far removed from what’s happening in the heartland, but wind industry workers there will feel the pinch as the wind tax credit expires.”

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Written By

Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA.


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