Renewable Electricity Standard Could Create 850,000 Manufacturing Jobs

More than 850,000 manufacturing jobs at firms already in existence across all 50 states could be created with the enactment of a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) of 25 percent by 2025.

June 15, 2009

Labor-Environmental Partnership Releases State-by-State Job Numbers; Urges Congress to Pass Strong RES

Washington, D.C. (June 15, 2009)More than 850,000 manufacturing jobs at firms already in existence across all 50 states could be created with the enactment of a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) of 25 percent by 2025, according to a report issued today by the BlueGreen Alliance.

Download the report or listen to the press conference call.

“With steep job losses in manufacturing in the past year,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster, “the need for a renewable electricity standard to combat climate change is now matched by the urgent need to reverse the devastating downturn in domestic manufacturing.”

When accounting for manufacturing, installation and operations and maintenance, the job growth induced by the RES, the Blue Green report concludes, could be from four to six times greater than equivalent investments in fossil fuels.

Studies performed over the past seven years by the California Energy Commission, Union of Concerned Scientists, University of California, Berkeley and Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies show that renewable energy sources generate greater employment than equivalent investments in fossil fuels, on average four to six times as many jobs per MW as conventional coal or natural gas power supplies.

“The past failure of the federal government to adopt long-term regulatory policies like the RES and programs that encourage domestic manufacturing of new renewable energy technologies,” said Foster, “has allowed Europe, Japan, China and other countries that do have such policies to capture the lion’s share of manufacturing jobs.”

The report, which is an update of an earlier analysis, estimates state-by-state the number of jobs that could be created with the installation of 18,500 megawatts (MW) per year of wind, solar, geothermal and biomass plants, which is the rough equivalent to the supply delivered under a 25 percent by 2025 RES. The report also details the potential job growth in all 50 states in each of four renewable industries.

As Congress debates clean energy legislation, the BlueGreen Alliance is submitting a briefing of the report’s findings on the potential manufacturing job growth in all 50 states. A version of an RES is currently making its way through the U.S. Senate and is included the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which recently passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The BlueGreen Alliance is urging strong and consistent federal policy support to greatly accelerate growth in wind-turbine manufacturing, and extend economic opportunity to smaller and less mature industries in the solar, geothermal and biomass sectors. The national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations announced in March its support for comprehensive climate change legislation as the most effective way to put millions of Americans back to work building the clean energy economy, including complementary regulations like the RES. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. Launched by the United Steelworkers and Sierra Club in 2006, the Blue Green Alliance has since grown to unite the Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Laborers’ International Union of North America and Service Employees International Union – bringing together more than six million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy.