2011-11-02

Co.Exist

Mapping The Clean Energy Jobs In The U.S.

To get more clean energy, we’re going to have to build a lot of stuff. Building all that will create jobs all over the country. Here’s some idea of where—with the right investments—we might see employment boom.

Rarely a day goes by that there isn’t a report announcing a giant new solar or wind installation. At the same time, the U.S. is facing increasing joblessness. But jobs are probably being created in your neighborhood; you just need to know where to look. The NRDC’s new interactive Renewable Energy For America map offers a glimpse of clean energy projects (and accompanying jobs) across the country.

A search for planned and existing wind projects in the U.S., for example yields results spanning the nation, in states including California, Nevada, Wyoming, Texas, Nebraska, New York, and New Jersey. Looking at the map of planned solar projects, we learn that job seekers might want to (unsurprisingly) head towards the sunny parts of the states—California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.

The map also shows renewable energy potential for different areas—the West Coast has plenty of solar potential, the middle of the country is tops for wind, and cellulosic biomass is all over the place. There’s biomass everywhere.

The renewable energy projects highlighted on NRDC’s map are major sources of jobs. Consider this list from E2, which offers more details on the new jobs being created by clean technology. Two new solar plants in Arizona are creating 700 construction jobs, while a $22 million biomass project in Kentucky will recruit 340 workers. A mammoth solar project in California will generate over 900 temporary and permanent jobs.

Will these jobs make employees rich? Probably not. But at a time when the viability of the renewable energy industry is constantly being questioned, it’s important to remember that these projects create sources of income for people who currently have none.

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2 Comments

  • lngtrm1

    I am curious if this summer alone would change how those maps look in Texas for solar potential. Given the small amount of rainy days or even cloudy days, would solar potential increase? Dramatically?

    How long are the averages calculated over?

  • Edward Cardenas

    Interesting maps, but it begs the question if you were to overlay the areas of the country with the highest jobless rates if there would be opportunity for those people looking for work to have a shot at a job without requiring a relocation.  Another overlay would be the locations that offer training and education programs in green technology (solar and wind) and if they are located in the centers of "Green Development" or if national companies are just mobilizing their employees to areas of the country embracing the technology????