June 14, 2009

A increase in green employment in S.C.

It's about time we see the numbers for the renewable job market in South Carolina! Utilities like Santee Cooper should heed this report; the utility has such a great ability to increase renewable employment instead of building a new coal plant. Creating jobs for coal is a poor choice. Creating energy efficient jobs on the other hand, spurs economic growth and a new job market. Santee Cooper can help our state, not hurt it more. South Carolina needs to wake up to this news and utilities like Santee Cooper should lead the charge.

Charleston Regional Business Journal
S.C. clean energy jobs grew 36%
Staff Report
June 10, 2009

Jobs in South Carolina’s clean energy economy grew more than 16 times faster than overall jobs between 1998 and 2007, according to a report by The Pew Charitable Trusts. In “The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America,” Pew developed a data-driven definition of the clean energy economy and conducted the first-ever hard count across all 50 states of the actual jobs, companies and venture capital investments that are supplying the market for environmentally friendly products and services.

Pew’s analysis found that between 1998 and 2007, jobs in South Carolina’s clean energy economy grew at a rate of 36.2%, while the overall number of jobs in South Carolina grew by 2.2%.

“South Carolina’s clean energy economy is growing quickly,” said Heyward Bannister, S.C. representative for the Pew Environment Group. “South Carolina’s program providing low-interest loans for building renewable energy facilities, including those powered by wind and solar, should help the state expand its clean energy economy.”

South Carolina was part of a national trend that saw job growth in the clean energy economy outperforming overall job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia over the same period. Nationally, while jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a rate of 9.1% between 1998 and 2007, total jobs grew by 3.7%.

In 2007, South Carolina’s clean energy economy had nearly 11,300 jobs. The report finds that the emerging industry is creating jobs as diverse as engineers, plumbers, administrative assistants, construction workers, machine setters, marketing consultants and teachers, with annual incomes ranging from $21,000 to $111,000.

Federal and state lawmakers see the sector as helping spur America’s economic recovery and protect the environment. The effort will receive a boost from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocates nearly $85 billion nationwide in direct spending and tax incentives for energy- and transportation-related programs. South Carolina also provides financial incentives for clean energy, such as the Renewable Energy Grants and Loans Program.

“If the true cost of fossil fuel-based energy sources were factored in to the cost of electricity, then the playing field for clean energy would become much more level, and companies like ours could grow exponentially,” said Erik Lensch, president of Argand Energy Solutions, an installer of solar electric, wind energy and solar hot water systems.

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