green jobs and belt buckles

Even though they NEVER tease my stories on their blog (say, as they do more dominant local media), I’ll still say nice things about the Southwest Workers’ Union. For starters, if you don’t know already, they are committed to making so-called green-collar jobs a reality in South Texas.

I was reminded of this when I checked their blog (an RSS of which runs down my right rail) and saw their link to a Times story on green jobs out in Oakland.

It reads:

OAKLAND, Calif. — California’s energy-efficiency policies created nearly 1.5 million jobs from 1977 to 2007, while eliminating fewer than 25,000, according to a study to be released Monday.

The study, conducted by David Roland-Holst, an economist at the Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley, found that while the state’s policies lowered employee compensation in the electric power industry by an estimated $1.6 billion over that period, it improved compensation in the state over all by $44.6 billion.

In the newsiverse, green jobs have undoubtedly become a searing-hot topic.

Time Magazine took a shot at it this week, also.

Van Jones does not look like your typical environmentalist. He doesn’t wear Birkenstocks. He’s African-American in a movement that tends to be overwhelmingly white. His background is in civil-rights activism — specifically prison reform — a cause he champions in Oakland, Calif. But Jones, the head of the non-profit Green For All and the author of the new book The Green-Collar Economy, could represent the future of environmentalism in America and a way for the movement to survive and even thrive through the coming recession. “The solution for the environment and the economy will be the same thing,” says Jones. (Listen to Jones talk about the green collar economy on this week’s Greencast.)

Also, a story published over the weekend on the Views page of the Sunday paper dished some green dirt from the under-advertised Clean Technology Forum of the week before. While a week and a half wasn’t enough heads-up to get the mayor tied in for my story on energy, climate, and Texas, apparently, I will be back soon enough as they start to unroll the findings of the several task forces on energy Hardberger set up a few months back.

According to Jan Russell, who pecked the Sunday dispatch, Hardy hopes to establish a a multi billion-dollar capital fund to kick off major city efficiency fits, “such as the retrofitting of inner-city residential areas with energy saving features.”

I’m guessing they’re talking about insulation, double-paned windows, and the like. To be installed by… You got it, folks. Tackle climate change, energy “independence,” and the faltering economy in a unified national heave.

VISUAL BREAK yep. the flutterbys have been absolutely amazing in south texas. lots'a fritters, a few monarchs, and this as-yet unidentified intruder.

Do check out Russell’s whole story, and watch for updates to start to trickle in on the Mayor’s project across the media spectrum by December. Will it keep its momentum, post-Hardberger? Well, that will depend on you.

While I was researching my climate-energy offering in the Current this week (which is not about green jobs, though the inputs were unavoidable), I hit upon several interesting numbers — particularly when it came to Google Lab’s proposed national energy plan, which I analyzed alongside those being brought by Obama, McCain, and T. Boone Pickens.

From the Google plan, I found:

Transforming our energy economy as laid out in this proposal will create large numbers of new jobs.  Here are a few studies on renewable energy job creation.  Please note that the amount of renewable energy generation in these studies is smaller than in our proposal, so job creation could be larger under Clean Energy 2030.

According to the US Department of Energy, an additional 293 GW of of wind in 2030 will provide 476,000 jobs in the US (equivalent in size to about 25 Googles):

  • 259,000 construction jobs each year
  • 217,000 permanent operations jobs
  • Broken down as:
    • 150,000 direct employees
    • 100,000 jobs in associated industries (e.g., accountants, lawyers, steel workers, and electrical manufacturing)
    • 220,000 jobs through economic expansion based on local spending

Navigant Consulting examined the impact of expanding solar generation to 28 GW (PV and CSP) in 2016, and found it would provide 440,000 jobs in the US:

  • 110,000 direct
  • 130,000 indirect (response as supplying industries increase output)
  • 200,000 induced (spending of households who benefit from the additional wages and business income they earn through all of the direct and indirect activity)

The Geothermal Energy Association finds that manufacturing and construction jobs typically create 6.4 person-year jobs per MW of capacity, as well as 0.74 permanent full-time jobs per MW of capacity directly related to power plant operation and maintenance.

We don’t yet have job estimates related to efficiency installations or the plug-in vehicle market, but we note that the 6.2 million/year increase in vehicle sales by 2030 would result in many new jobs in the vehicle manufacturing sector.

It simply must happen.

Before I lose you, take a sec to read Laura Paskus’ reminder to check your voter registration before you go vote… Maybe we’ll see fair elections this cycle, but the outlook so far is not looking good.

[Top image originally from the Orange County Register, repurposed by Time, repurposed by me. Visual Break is my own humble biotic-baffling image.]

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