News roundup: Top states for clean jobs, Michigan's bright future, exporting wind

13 March 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

Today’s news comes on the heels of a new report detailing the best states for new clean energy jobs, a plan for Michigan to grow its renewables portfolio, and how the US exports wind tech.

Environmental Entrepreneurs has released their compilation of the top 10 states to look for a job in clean energy:

  • More than 78,600 clean energy and clean transportation jobs were announced in 2013 at 260 projects tracked by the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).
  • “Our report makes it clear. When we invest in clean energy and clean transportation, we put people to work in every corner of the country. Whether it’s a new wind farm in Iowa, an energy efficiency retrofit in Massachusetts, or a utility-scale solar array in Nevada, these projects require American ingenuity and labor. The sector is helping stimulate our economy,” said E2 Executive Director Judith Albert.
  • In the fourth quarter alone, E2 tracked more than 70 projects nationwide that could create 13,000 jobs. Spikes in wind manufacturing and solar manufacturing added to the national quarterly total. Texas was the top state in the quarter, with as many as 3,200 jobs coming from eight projects, most of them in wind.

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that Michigan has great potential to grow their clean energy profile – and why they should:

  • The state took an important first step toward a cleaner energy future when it passed its renewable electricity standard (RES) in 2008, which requires Michigan utilities to ramp up renewable energy development to meet 10 percent of the state's electricity needs by 2015.
  • UCS analysis shows that in-state renewable energy resources can affordably and reliably generate 32.5 percent of Michigan's electricity by 2030 — and that ramping up renewables to this level would spur billions of dollars in investments, cut carbon emissions, and reduce the many risks of an overreliance on coal or natural gas.
  • For example, using the latest wind turbine technologies, Michigan’s onshore wind resource has the potential to generate nearly five times the state's 2012 electricity demand, even after a variety of competing land uses are accounted for. Solar photovoltaic (PV) resources in urban areas — including large ground-mounted and smaller rooftop systems — could provide another 71 percent of the state’s 2012 electricity demand. Overall, Michigan’s wind, solar, and sustainable bioenergy resources could generate nearly six times the state’s 2012 demand for electricity.

Wind power’s strong manufacturing base in the United States means the sector will become the country’s largest renewables export in the next few years:

  • Wind will account for 32pc of all US renewable energy exports through 2015, followed by ethanol at 27pc and solar at 19pc, the [US Department of Commerce]’s International Trade Administration (ITA) said in its 2014 Renewable Energy Top Markets Report. Biomass pellets and geothermal will make up 7pc and 2pc, respectively, of exports.
  • …[M]ost US exports will go to countries such as Canada, Chile and Israel, which lack sufficient domestic manufacturing capacity.
  • Canada and China will rank as the top two markets for all US renewable energy products. While China is the top wind market through 2015, Canada is the top market for solar, ethanol and hydropower exports.

Be sure check out this week’s other news roundups:

Sources:

E2, “Top 10 states for clean energy job announcements.” Earth Techling. 12 March 2014.

Staff, “Charting Michigan's Renewable Energy Future.” Union of Concerned Scientists. 12 March 2014.

Staff, “Wind to become top US renewables export.” Argus Media. 12 March 2014.