"The Truth About Clean Energy Jobs: Efficiency Has Created 330,000 Jobs in Two Decades"
Export dollars per job in the clean economy are almost double those in the broader economy. Median wages are nearly 20% higher.
James Dixon, chairman of the National Association of Energy Service Companies, has a good op-ed in Politico on clean energy jobs.
Recent news reports might have you believe the rise of the clean energy economy is a myth. Not true. Just look at energy efficiency’s economic impact. Since 1990, the energy service industry has provided $50 billion in energy savings, $25 billion in public infrastructure improvements and created roughly 330,000 jobs.
Energy efficiency is an economic winner. This is not wishful thinking – it’s based on actual market experience.
I have seen how energy efficiency, a key component of our expanding clean and green economy, saves taxpayers billions of dollars, creates U.S. jobs and sparks the kind of energy innovations America needs.
Climate Progress has long argued that “Energy Efficiency Must Have a Starring Role in Putting America Back to Work.” If we retrofitted just 40% of the nation’s residential and commercial building stock, we would mobilize a massive amount of domestic labor, more than half a million (625,000) sustained full-time jobs over a decade. This would generate as much as $64 billion per year in cost savings.
Dixon is a vice president for Con Edison Energy. He is actually recommending a much more modest effort, one backed by the Chamber of Commerce of all places:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week sent an open letter to the Obama administration and lawmakers, asking the president to issue an executive order requiring the Energy Department to make the federal Energy Savings Performance Contracts program a high priority.
We second the chamber’s request for fast implementation — since the program could create 35,000 jobs a year, save energy and reduce government utility and administration costs.
Under this program, energy service companies provide technical, engineering and managerial expertise, while private-sector financial institutions fund the retrofit projects — which make federal buildings significantly more energy efficient.
The costs of design and installation of new technologies as well as equipment upgrades are to be paid back out of the energy savings over the life of the contract— at no net cost to the government.
Every $1 million of ESPC project value is estimated to create about 10 direct jobs in engineering, construction and equipment manufacturing, professions hardest hit in this recession. The multiplier effect of the income created by these direct jobs provides another 10 to 12 indirect jobs per $1 million of project value.
What this all means is that adoption of strong energy efficiency policies, like the federal energy savings program and similar programs already in place across the nation, create incentives for business and institutions to find ways to save energy and dollars.
Note that clean economy jobs are skilled, high wage, high-export-value jobs, as documented in a recent Brookings report, the source of the figure above (see “Green Jobs Reach 2.7 Million“). Dixon makes this point:
The skilled workforce required for these projects is currently suffering Great Depression levels of unemployment. Without any need for additional training, it is available today in communities across the country.
In addition, creating these jobs requires no new taxes— because the projects are financed by re-directing dollars today spent on wasted energy.
Some people say that our country should not continue to pursue a clean energy economy. They say it won’t translate into jobs.
From an industry point of view, clearer and more directed policy direction from the federal government gives businesses, investors and entrepreneurs the clear market signals they need to find ways to save energy, save dollars and put Americans to work.