North Carolina remains among top states for clean energy job announcements despite attempts to repeal state renewable energy standard
WASHINGTON (June 4, 2013) – Companies and communities across the United States announced more than 50 clean energy and clean transportation projects in the first quarter of 2013 that could create as many as 12,000 jobs, according to a report released today by Environmental Entrepreneurs, a nationwide network of business leaders who advocate for policies that benefit both the economy and the environment.
In North Carolina, four major solar projects were announced in the first quarter that together could create more than 700 new jobs in the Tar Heel state. They included a major solar farm in Duplin County expected to create an estimated 400 jobs and a solar power inverter factory in Charlotte expected to create more than 40 jobs.
The full report and a searchable database of clean energy job announcements are available at www.e2.org/cleanjobs.
“The continued growth of clean energy in the face of wrongful efforts to repeal North Carolina’s renewable energy portfolio standard is both noteworthy and impressive,” said E2 member John Robbins, president of Greathorn Development Corp. in Concord, N.C.
“We have the potential to keep creating these good-paying jobs and attracting clean energy investments – as long as we don’t let our state legislature derail the favorable business environment we have in North Carolina.”
North Carolina ranked in the top 10 in quarterly state rankings for the fourth time. The only other states to do this are Texas and California.
The first-quarter job growth came despite attempts to repeal clean energy standards in numerous states.
In North Carolina, for instance, clean energy opponents tried unsuccessfully to repeal the state’s renewable energy standard, despite the fact that the state has attracted more than 1,100 clean energy companies that have created more than 21,000 jobs over the past five years. Threats to repeal renewable energy standards continue in North Carolina and other states, however.
In an effort to recognize the contributions of solar energy to North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory just declared June 2013 Solar Energy Month. Ironically, some of the governor’s Republican colleagues in Raleigh are still threatening to repeal the renewable energy standard, which is helping solar businesses in North Carolina create badly needed jobs.
If these repeal efforts are successful, they could slow job growth, E2’s report suggests. In the first quarter of the year, nine of the top 10 states for clean energy and clean transportation job announcements tracked by E2 have renewable energy standards on the books.
“The fact that nine out of the top 10 states in the report have renewable portfolio standards is no accident,” said Judith Albert, executive director of Environmental Entrepreneurs. “These policies are doing exactly what they’re supposed to do: Create jobs and create clean, renewable energy that helps both our economy and our environment.”
Massachusetts led the nation in the first quarter, after the state announced a $400 million program to make 700 state buildings more energy efficient, creating an estimated 4,100 jobs along the way. These building improvements also are expected to save the state between $43 million to $250 million in annual energy costs.
California was No. 2 with 12 announcements that could potentially create 2,808 jobs, followed by Indiana’s three announcements that could create 1,690 jobs.
In addition to identifying the top 10 states, E2’s report found:
- The wind energy industry is showing resilience. After a steep drop off in job announcements attributed to uncertainty over the extension of the wind energy production tax credit late in 2012, the industry is bouncing back, with more than 1,400 wind energy jobs announced in early 2013.
- Solar leads power generation job announcements. More than 3,800 jobs were announced in the solar power generation sector, higher than all other power generation sectors combined (wind, biogas, and geothermal).
- Advanced vehicle manufacturing is creating job opportunities. With a $374 million investment from Chrysler, factories in Indiana are expected to ramp up manufacturing for 8- and 9-speed, fuel-efficient transmissions.
The report also highlights clean energy case studies from businesses located in California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.
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Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national community of individual business leaders who advocate for good environmental policy while building economic prosperity. Learn more at www.e2.org.