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Published on August 13th, 2018 | by Steve Hanley

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Renewable Energy & Clean Tech: It’s The Jobs, Stupid!

August 13th, 2018 by  



While Donald Trump — the preening peacock of the Potomac — goes around bragging (his favorite activity) about how many jobs he is creating, the renewable energy industry is quietly setting new records for job creation all across America. The Trumpeter went to Indiana last year to boast about how he had saved jobs at Carrier Air Conditioning. But almost as soon as he got his substantial bulk back on Air Force One, Carrier began laying workers off.

renewable energy report

Clean Tech Bringing Jobs To Indiana

Indiana is home to rock-ribbed Republicans like Mike Pence, former governor and now one heartbeat away from being president of the United States. It is a solidly red state where Trump is accorded nearly god-like status. How deliciously ironic that WRBI radio in southeast Indiana ran a story on August 10 with this headline: “Renewable Energy Employment In Indiana Surges.”

Wait. What? Renewable energy — the force that conservatives being spoon fed on fossil fuel drivel doled out by the Koch Brothers and their multiplicity of minions decry for destroying the economy and sucking money out of the pockets of hard working citizens — is actually creating jobs in Indiana? More jobs than any other sector, in fact? Quick, get Charles and David on the phone! Crank up the press releases from the Heartland Institute, the American Petroleum Institute, and the Heritage Foundation!

“More than 83,000 Indiana residents now work in clean energy industries in every county in the state according to a new analysis of energy jobs data from Clean Energy Trust and the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). Indiana’s clean energy workforce now employs more than all the waiters and waitresses, computer programmers, lawyers, and web developers in Indiana combined, according to Department of Labor Employment Statistics.”

Et Tu, Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, another bastion of Trumperica fever, the Cap Times in Madison told its readers this week there are now 75,044 clean energy jobs in the state based on that same survey. That’s up quite a bit from previous surveys. The increase is explained by new methodology that takes a closer look at the supply chain that supports renewable energy and energy efficiency — particularly companies that produce Energy Star certified products.

Ken Walz is in charge of the renewable energy certification program at Madison College. He tells the Cap Times that defining what jobs are in “clean energy” can be tricky. “It’s easy to know when someone’s installing a solar panel on a roof. But when you’re talking about an engineer installing energy efficient systems, that’s harder,” he says.

No matter the definition, Walz says the demand for graduates from his school’s programs is growing. “We have more (employers) seeking students than we have graduates. It speaks to the need for more workers in the industry.” About half of Madison College graduates work in installation or manufacturing jobs while the other half work in engineering or design related positions.

Say It Isn’t So, Charles And David!

Faced with such news, the fossil fuel gang is hard at work sowing doubt and fear wherever and whenever they can. Here are two stories that popped up in my news feed today. The first is from the Worcester Telegram. Written by Derek Hunter, it attacks Massachusetts’ recent campaign to bring offshore wind power to the state.

Hunter levels a broadside against Bill McKibben and 350.org for having the gall to promote renewables as a way to address climate change. What renewables are really about is private companies sticking their hands into people’s pockets and sticking taxpayers with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of subsidies.

“If ‘renewables’ ever become reliable, consumers would probably flock to them, and businesses would likely invest in them,” Hunter writes. “But forcing consumers into an unreliable, inadequate energy supply — that needs over a hundred million dollars in taxpayer subsidies — to advance the political agenda of a fringe group is a dangerous bet for Massachusetts and could over time create the production of more greenhouse gasses, not less.”

And what are Hunter’s credentials? According to a footer following the Telegram story, “Derek Hunter, of Chevy Chase, Md., is the author of “’Outrage, INC: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood,’ is the former host of a conservative radio talk show, the Derek Hunter Show on WBAL in Baltimore, and is a regular contributor to Townhall.com, the Daily Caller and Breitbart News.” Oh.

Here’s another fairly unbalanced broadside from Norman Rogers published by The American Thinker on August 11 entitled Wind and Solar Energy: Good for Nothing. In it, Rogers parrots the familiar refrain about renewables being unreliable and needing huge government subsidies. He then goes on to claim fossil fuels receive no subsidies but instead contribute massive amounts of money to various governments through the taxes they pay. “The bottom line is that wind and solar are useless — a complete waste of money,” he concludes.

And what are Rogers’ bona fides? The American Thinker provides this insight.: “Norman Rogers has written the book Dumb Energy: A Critique of Wind and Solar Energy. He has websites: DumbEnergy.com and ClimateViews.com.” All righty, then.

Renewables Vs. Fossil Fuels

So let’s wrap this up, shall we?

  • Renewables and clean tech — lower carbon emissions, more good paying jobs, save consumers money.
  • Fossil fuels — higher carbon emissions, shedding jobs, cost consumers money.

Not much of a choice, is it?  Which leads to this question: If clean tech and renewables are creating so many jobs, why is the federal government under the blowhard in chief doing everything possible to put barriers in their way? Writing in The Missourian on August 10, Basav Sen, director of the Climate Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, sums it up perfectly.

“So energy efficiency creates more jobs than fossil fuels and at a faster rate and a lower cost. They’re good jobs, with good wages and above-average rates of unionization. And states have taken concrete measures to make these jobs accessible to everyone and raise standards for energy efficiency workers. Why, then, does the federal government lag behind? And worse still, why does it pursue fantasies such as bringing back coal? Sadly, the answer is bribes, bribes, bribes.

“Fossil fuel interests pour money into congressional and presidential campaigns, and politicians return the favor by doing their bidding. The Trump administration’s push for coal is driven by two billionaire coal oligarchs, Robert Murray and Joseph Craft. Both have pumped money into Trump’s campaign and openly advocate for deregulating fossil fuels and bailing out coal.

“If the federal government really cared about “jobs, jobs, jobs,” they would follow the lead of Illinois and Oregon and make a big push to subsidize energy efficiency — instead of bailing out coal.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

For an in depth look at renewable energy and clean tech jobs in the Midwest with interactive tools that let you search by state, visit the Clean Jobs Midwest website
 





 

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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. His motto is, "Life is not measured by how many breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away!" You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.



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