Report: National RES could create 850,000 jobs in US

By Anna Austin
Posted June 17, 209

The creation of a national Renewable Electricity Standard of 25 percent by 2025 could potentially create more than 850,000 full-time jobs across the U.S., according to a recent report by Blue Green Alliance, a nationwide partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations.

According to the report, 28 states currently have their own RES.

"Instead of sending our public and private investments overseas to purchase polluting commodities of finite supply, development of renewable energy invests directly in people, substituting labor for fuel expenses," the report says. "It is this fundamental fact that underscores projects that renewable energy technologies can provide, on average, four to six times as many jobs as equivalent investments in fossil fuels when manufacturing, installation and operations are all accounted for."

The report is an update of an earlier analysis and estimates state-by-state the number of jobs that could be created with the installation of 18,500 megawatts per year of biomass, solar, wind, and geothermal energy, which is the rough equivalent to the supply delivered under a 25 percent by 2025 RES.

Also detailed in the report is the potential job growth in all 50 states in each of the four renewable energy industries. It ranks the top five states for biomass potential manufacturing as Texas, New York, California, Ohio and Oklahoma; Wyoming and Alaska rank last.

The RES should have flexible compliance mechanisms and allow states with higher targets to pursue their more aggressive renewable energy deployment programs, the Blue Green Alliance suggests.

Climate change reduction targets are also emphasized in the report. "Carbon emissions must be capped at levels that are based on the best science," it says. "Guidance from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that emissions contributing to climate change should shrink by at least 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Congress should create interim targets that make steady progress toward this goal."

"How to Revitalize America's Middle Class with the Clean Energy Economy" is available here.