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US could create 4.5 million jobs in renewable energy, says analysis

The United States could net 4.5 million new jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors by 2030 if it addresses climate change, according to a report prepared for the American Solar Energy Society.

Aggressive deployment of renewable energy and efficiency could displace the emission of 1200 million tons of annual carbon emissions by 2030 if the country were to make a serious commitment to reversing climate change, concludes ‘Estimating the Jobs Impact of Tackling Climate Change’ prepared by Management Information Services for ASES. Of the carbon reductions, 43% would come from renewable energy and 57% from efficiency.

Professions that would gain the most jobs include farming, construction, professional services, trucking and metal fabrication, with job benefits spread across the country. The largest numbers of renewable energy jobs would be in solar electric (PV and CSP), biomass power and biofuels, and many of the these jobs could not easily be outsourced due to the on-site nature required.

Deployment costs for renewable energy would be revenue neutral (or better) as the costs to implement technologies are offset by savings from lower energy bills, making total net costs near zero, says the analysis. Energy efficiency measures would allow US carbon emissions to remain level until 2030, while renewable energy would provide large reductions in emissions below current levels.

“The twin challenges of climate change and economic stagnation can be solved by the same action - broad, aggressive, sustained deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency,” says Brad Collins of ASES. “The solution for one is the solution for the other.”

“For job growth, the status quo is no match for innovation,” adds Collins. “Congress can help get the economy back on track with smart energy policy - reduce energy consumption in buildings by 50%; adopt an aggressive national renewable portfolio standard; commit to end dependence on foreign oil by 2025; and implement an upstream cap and auction system to manage greenhouse gases at the points where they first enter the energy economy.”

The 1200 million tons of annual carbon emissions by 2030 that renewable energy and efficiency could mitigate, is the amount that scientists believe is necessary to prevent the most dangerous consequences of climate change.

This report builds on the findings of ‘Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.: Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions From Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy by 2030' produced earlier by ASES.

ASES is a nonprofit based in Boulder. Management Information Services is based in Washington, DC.

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Energy efficiency  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity

 

Comments

GRaspEnergy said

10 November 2009
Thanks for this excellent report - perhaps it will help spread the word about how effective (and cost-effective) energy efficiency measures can be in curbing greenhouse gases while stimulating the economy at the same time.

EnerPath Services - http://www.enerpath.com/ - based in Southern, CA, is in the business of running large-scale energy efficiency programs for utilities and muncipalities. EnerPath proves that this is not just theory; homeowners and businesses can and are saving money by becoming more energy efficient.

EnerPath's is particularly effective in working with local communities that want to achieve savings for residents and small businesses, but lack the expertise in running large-scale energy efficiency programs. Using its patented technology that features PDAs, EnerPath manages the process from start to finish – conducting on-site energy audits, coordinating innovative financing programs, and connecting local suppliers and vendors with customers.

EnerPath also makes a point of hiring local contractors to install energy-efficient equipment and appliances, weatherize homes and retrofit buildings, install energy effecient appliances (and recylce the old units). And, they hire and train local employees to conduct the energy audits.

Thanks again for getting the word out! As Energy Secretary Chu said recently, energy efficiency is not only the lowest of low-hanging fruit, it's lying on the ground waiting to be picked up!

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