In this Dispatch, PSN will examine clean energy options that contribute to a green economy, including evaluating the great strides that energy supply alternatives have created in the states that have enacted policies that promote them. We will explain how states have established Renewable Portfolio Standards and how these have created the demand for innovative investment, as well as how to promote new sources of renewable energy, including creative financial mechanisms,
multi-state agreements, and the upgrade of an electrical grid that will better transmit energy from these intermittent sources. And for states looking for new job creation strategies, one key fact is that the production, installment and maintenance of renewable energy sources create sustainable jobs.
The fundamental challenge in this recession is that the growth that preceded it was a mirage. Bubble era borrowing created a network of financial jobs, real estate jobs and construction jobs that collapsed with the end of the bubble. Many of those jobs will never return.
An extremely high proportion (75%) of job losses in this recession are permanent rather than temporary. States will need to nurture completely new industry sectors and the infrastructure to support those jobs, while the jobless will need retraining in new skills to participate in those sectors.
As we described last week in State Job Creation Strategies Part I: Finding the Money and Investing in Human Capital and Physical Infrastructure,
competing globally for jobs starts with policy makers instituting
fundamental investments in education, human capital and physical
infrastructure that make their state a productive environment for
economic innovation. The next step, as this Dispatch will describe, is helping the private sector leverage opportunities for job creation and technological innovation.
As this Dispatch will highlight, the first step is to fund jobs
that support long-term economic competitiveness, notably by investing
in people and physical infrastructure. While the economic climate for
profit-making business opportunities is more limited, investments in
education, health care, transit and energy efficiency can create
immediate jobs while strengthening building blocks for long-term
On Tuesday, December 8th, President Barack Obama delivered an address to the Brookings Institution on
the need for increased focus on the job crisis that is affecting so
many working families across the country.
The debate over clean energy is ripping open divisions in conservative
business lobbies. Debate on federal climate change legislation has led
an increasing number of businesses to leave the Chamber of Commerce,
the National Association of Manufacturers, and other business
associations because of those organizations' stances against
recognizing the scientific validity of climate change. The revolt has
been growing ever since a senior Chamber official called for a "Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century" to evaluate evidence of global warming.
The Washington State House has voted to establish a comprehensive "green economy jobs growth initiative" that aims to increase the number of green jobs to
25,000 by 2020. "Green jobs" is the term used to describe the
good-paying, sustainable jobs that are created through environmentally
sensible projects. For example, increased energy efficiency
requirements will require work retrofitting buildings all across America with solar panels, insulation and other weatherizing materials. The federal Green Jobs Act of 2007, which authorized $125 million per year to create green jobs worker training programs, was included in the recently enacted Energy Independence and Security Act.
Increasingly, elected leaders are recognizing the economic opportunity of promoting a "Restoration Economy," the development of
economic activities, such as jobs and increased tourist revenues, that
stems directly from restoring damaged natural resources. Restoration
activities and projects are typically divided into two sectors:
restoration of the natural environment, such as ecosystems, watersheds,
mining land, and forests, and restoration of the built environment,
such as brownfields and superfund sites. Restoring and rehabilitating
communities and natural environments is estimated to be a $1.5-$2 trillion a year global investment opportunity.