Study: National RES would add 274,000 jobs
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by Kevin Maddaford on 02/11/2010
A strong national renewable electricity standard would add 274,000 U.S. jobs by 2025.
According to a new study released by the RES Alliance for Jobs, a national renewable electricity standard (RES) requiring 25% of electricity to be generated by renewable sources by 2025 would create 274,000 more jobs than would occur in the absence of such legislation. The majority of these jobs, 52%, would be created in the manufacturing sector, which has been hard hit by the recession.
Jobs would be added in every U.S. state, especially those without a state-level RES, such as the Southeast. This region would see significant job growth in the biomass, hydropower and waste-to-energy industries. Overall, a national RES would add 60,000 more jobs in the biomass industry, 34,000 in the hydropower industry, 15,000 in the waste-to-energy industry, 50,000 in the solar industry, and 116,000 in the wind industry.
In addition to an end goal of 25% by 2025, aggressive near-term goals are necessary to increase the United States' global competitiveness. Companies are hesitant to build manufacturing facilities in the U.S. because of the uncertainties caused by a lack of long-term policies to support the renewable electricity industries. Countries such as China and members of the European Union currently have standards that provide long-term stability to their markets for renewable energy, and thus are more attractive locations for establishing manufacturing bases.
The study also indicated that there will be a net loss of renewable energy-related jobs without a national RES. Although tax incentives and the Treasury grant program have helped mitigate industry declines as a result of the recession, meaningful, long-term policies are necessary to provide long-term stability for the renewable energy market in the U.S. and attract the type of investments that will spur job growth.
The study, "Jobs Impact of a National Renewable Electricity Standard," conducted by Navigant Consulting, can be found here.
The renewable energy industry is making tremendous strides globally, and if the United States doesn't step up to take a leadership role in the development, manufacturing and implementation of new technologies, we're going to fall behind other countries. It is imperative to develop not only the infrastructure to support these technologies and projects, but also a skilled workforce that will be in demand both at home and abroad. Sound, long-term policies will go a long way in signaling our seriousness about taking on such a role. ~Kevin