Report: 37 Million 'Green Jobs' Feasible By 2030

ASES / MISI study reveals opportunities, warnings in nation’s first update of groundbreaking study; hottest sectors: solar, wind, biofuels, fuel cells.

Published: 15-Jan-2009

BOULDER, CO -- The renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) industries represented more than 9 million jobs and $1,045 billion in U.S. revenue in 2007, according to a new report offering the most detailed analysis yet of the green economy. The renewable energy industry grew three times as fast as the U.S. economy, with the solar thermal, photovoltaic, biodiesel, and ethanol sectors leading the way, each with 25%+ annual revenue growth.

The new ‘Green Collar Jobs’ report from the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) based in Boulder, and Management Information Services, Inc (MISI), an internationally recognized economic research firm based in Washington D.C., provides a sector-by-sector analysis of where the opportunities are in the rapidly changing renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.

“There’s a new sense of optimism in the green economy,” said Brad Collins, ASES’ Executive Director. “But while the U.S. could see million of new jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency, this will only happen with the necessary leadership, research, development, and public policy at the federal and state levels.”

Key steps include a national renewable portfolio standard, long-term extension of the production tax credit, effective net metering policies, and improved access to electric transmission infrastructure.

According to the advanced scenario in the report, which represents the upper limit of what is technologically and economically feasible, RE&EE would generate about 37 million jobs and $4,294 billion in annual revenue by 2030. It’s one of three forecast scenarios highlighted in this report. Under the base case (business as usual) scenario, which assumes no major change in policy or initiatives, the green job forecast is for more than 16 million jobs and $1,966 billion in revenue in the U.S. by 2030 – less than half the jobs and revenue than the advanced scenario. The third scenario assumes moderate policy improvements at the federal and state level and forecasts 19.5 million jobs and $2,248 billion in revenue by 2030.

Key conclusions from this report include:

But while there is tremendous opportunity, there is also a real sense of urgency. Every year’s delay by policy-makers (2009, 2010) has a highly disproportionate and negative impact on long range growth. The longer that policy-makers delay in implementing ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, the more difficult it will be to achieve the report’s goals by 2030.

Unless quick action is taken, the U.S. risks losing millions of green jobs to other nations that offer a more serious and sustained commitment to growing its green economy. Consider the impressive results of Germany as an instructive example.

Germany’s population is about one-quarter the size of the U.S., but Germany has more renewable energy jobs and generates new jobs faster the U.S. Germany has 5x the wind sector jobs and 4x the photovoltaic solar jobs as the U.S. Germany produces half the wind rotors in the world, one-third the solar panels in the world, and leads the world in biodiesel production.

The U.S. is in a global marketplace. If we fail to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, the U.S. runs the risk of losing additional ground in these industries to Germany and other nations. If we refuse to address policy and regulatory barriers to the sustained development of the new energy economy, other countries will lead and reap the economic and environmental benefits. For the U.S. to be competitive in a carbon-constrained world, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries must be a critical economic driver.

About the American Solar Energy Society

For more than 50 years the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) has been leading national efforts to promote education, public outreach, and research about solar energy and other sustainable technologies.

About Management Information Services, Inc

Management Information Services, Inc (MISI) is an internationally recognized, Washington D.C.-based economic research and management consulting firm with expertise in economic forecasting, analysis of energy, environmental and electric utility issues, and labor markets.

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