The nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) released a report today with high hopes for job growth in clean technologies. The report predicts that as many as one in four, or 40 million, American workers will be employed in the renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) industries by 2030.
The 68-page report, whose full title is “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: Economic Drivers for the 21st Century,” claims that “Despite widespread interest in the size of the RE&EE industries and the number of jobs these industries create, until now no one had conducted a comprehensive study” of them. In 2006, RE&EE employed 8 million Americans and generated $933 billion in revenue, the study estimates; assuming aggressive development, that revenue figure is forecast to surge to $4.53 trillion by 2030.
These quantified estimates provide backing for green-collar job campaigns and the creation of a new green economy. Estimates in the trillions of dollars also give legs to remarks such as those made by Sun Microsystems (JAVA) co-founder Bill Joy earlier this year about clean tech being bigger than the Internet.
All of these optimistic predictions come with a proviso of major government support in the form of renewable energy incentives, grant programs, public education, and ongoing research and development. But state and federal help should yield even further sources of funding. As Ted Nordhaus, author of “The Death of Environmentalism,” explains: “When we advocate $300 billion in public investments we think that that can leverage $200 billion in private ventures.”
The report is the second in a three-part ASES series designed to create a framework for “helping decision makers move toward a sustainable energy economy.” The first part was a report on potential carbon emissions reductions, released back in January. The third installment will give policy recommendations on carbon mitigation and sustainable economic development and is slated to be released in May 2008.