According to a new report from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), there were more than 300 clean energy and clean transportation projects in 2012 that created 110,000 jobs. E2 notes that the report comes at a time that groups and lobbyists backed by the fossil fuel industry are currently trying to derail clean energy policies including the Renewable Fuel Standard and state Renewable Portfolio Standards.
“It’s now crystal-clear that clean energy and clean transportation are helping our economy recover,” said Judith Albert, executive director of E2. “The projects and job announcements like we saw in 2012 can continue – as long as we don’t let smart energy policies get hijacked by special interests.”
Albert notes that state policies have done a lot to drive growth in the clean energy industry. “If lawmakers care about creating good, clean energy jobs in their neighborhoods, they should continue supporting those policies. If not, they can sit back and watch these good-paying jobs go elsewhere.”
In 2012, California, North Carolina and Florida led the nation. Illinois, Connecticut, Arizona, New York, Michigan, Texas and Oregon rounded out the Top 10. As a region, the Southeast led the country in manufacturing-related clean energy job announcements, with more than 13,700 jobs announced last year, accounting for about 80 percent of the nation’s total. Solar, advanced vehicles and wind energy were the leading clean energy manufacturing industries in the Southeast. Nationwide, clean transportation projects led the job growth last year, followed by clean power generation, manufacturing and energy efficiency projects.
In the fourth quarter of last year, nearly 16,000 clean energy and clean transportation jobs were announced, up from 10,800 in the third quarter, thanks in large part to a 7,000-job light rail announcement in Charlotte, N.C. Clean transportation jobs aside, several sectors saw sharp declines in the fourth quarter, due in large part to regulatory uncertainty in Congress and during the 2012 election.
“Smart policies and regulatory certainty– at both the federal and state levels – drive economic growth,” added Albert. “If 2012 taught us anything, it’s that if America wants to keep creating good, clean energy jobs, we need good, clean energy policies.”