8 Dec 2010

EVs, efficiency, offshore wind are driving U.S. clean tech job creation

Written by Jim Pierobon

With a bit of interpretation from yours truly, here’s a quick read on this year’s Clean Edge report on ‘Clean Tech’ job trends:

1. Clean-tech jobs are spouting in Mexico, not just China. It’s proximity to North American markets begs for more investment there.

2. Feed-in-fariffs are boosting renewable energy apptetites, but payment formulas can make progress unsustainable. Check out the experiences in Spain, Germany and Ontario. Domestic content requirements play a role too. The U.S. could lose out if its Congress neglects to extend the Treasury Grant (in lieu of the Investment Tax Credit) program.

3. U.S. is racing to catch up to tomorrow’s hybrid and EV autos with mixed results. Among the questions: how is organized labor prepared to help get the U.S. more than just a seat riding “shotgun”?

4. Even solar companies see the value of putting efficiency first. Solar City in California and Standard Solar in Maryland are among companies integrating efficiency services to reduce consumption so that solar PV can displace more grid-supplied electricity. It’s also a foot in the door to sell solar before their competitors.

5. Offshore wind manufacturing is the newest battleground for jobs. Watch how the “Mid-Atlantic Bight” (the coastline between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras) figures into the industry’s plans with Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia wrestling to streamline offshore permitting requirements.

Below are the 15 top metro areas and top ten states for clean tech job activity as rated by Clean Edge. While Silicon Valley and California are likely to dominate these rankings for a long time, other states perhaps have the most to learn from Massachusetts, according to Clean Edge Founder Ron Pernick.

“While not not a powerhouse in generation of electricity from clean sources like wind, solar, or geothermal, Massachusetts establishes its clean-energy leadership through its role as an innovation hub, a champion of energy efficiency, a center of finance, and a trendsetter in the policy realm,” Pernick said.”

Both the metro-area and state images are drawn from this year's Clean Edge reports, which are very good 'reads'.

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