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Clean Tech Jobs Spring Up as Investment Pours in and Factories are Transformed

By Renee Cho

Nov 29, 2009

Despite economic uncertainty, the biggest global corporations are investing 3-5 percent of annual revenues in clean tech solutions, and they are poised to invest more, according to an Ernst & Young .

With such private investment increasing and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) infusion of over $80 billion into the clean tech sector, the road ahead is looking green.

So, where does the clean tech job market stand today?

In 2007, clean tech was responsible for 770,000 U.S. jobs. While that number is still relatively small, the trend is heading in the right direction — the number of clean tech jobs increased by 9.1 percent from 1998 to 2007, at a time when overall U.S. job growth was just 3.7 percent, to the Pew Charitable Trusts. And as federal recovery act funds are invested over the coming year, those numbers will continue to rise.

Across the country, multinational corporations like GE Energy, Sharp, BP and Siemens are investing in developing clean tech sectors, while manufacturing facilities that had closed are being repurposed for clean tech production.

Where Are These Clean Tech Jobs?

In its recently released Clean Tech Job Trends 2009 report, the clean tech research firm Clean Edge identifies the leading regions for clean tech development and jobs right now, particularly in the top five clean tech sectors: solar, biofuels, efficiency, smart grid and wind power.

The top 15 U.S. metro areas: San Francisco; Los Angeles; New York; Boston; Washington, D.C., and Baltimore; Denver, Boulder and Greeley, Colo.; Seattle, Tacoma and Bremerton, Wash.; Portland and Salem, Ore.; Chicago; Sacramento, Calif.; San Diego; Austin and San Marcos, Texas; Phoenix; Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Houston.

California is currently the No. 1 job-creating state for wind, solar PV and geothermal, but other states are well situated to take advantage of the growing market.

The states with the greatest potential for clean tech jobs development are Texas, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina, according to a study of patterns of renewable energy demand, manufacturing capability and needed supply chains conducted for the Blue Green Alliance. That should be welcome news for a group of states that includes some of the highest in the nation, and for the nation itself, which reached 10.2 percent unemployment in October.

In the Blue Green Alliance report, Building the Clean Energy Assembly Line, the Renewable Energy Policy Project estimates the renewable energy manufacturing job potential of all 50 states at over 850,000 jobs based on standards requiring 25 percent of power to come from renewable energy by 2025.

All five of the leading clean tech sectors are showing strong signs of growth.


The five states with the most potential for solar PV potential manufacturing are California, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York, according to the Blue Green Alliance report.

SunPower in San Jose, Calif., is one of the top 10 clean tech employers in the country, with 5,400 employees.

In the Midwest's industrial belt, some retired plants are being reborn as clean tech operations. The Ford Motor Co. plant in Wixom, Mich., for example, laid off 1,500 employees when it closed in 2007; today the 320-acre facility is becoming a where Xtreme Power will produce systems for wind and solar, and Clairvoyant Energy will manufacture solar panels.

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Clean Edge-JobsTrends.pdf 918.1 KB
Blue Green Alliance-Green Jobs.pdf 845.65 KB


Thanks for sharing this usefull information with us.

Re-amping factories

This message is to the author of this article and to any one else whom might be able ot assist in this matter.

I am wondering as to whether anyone knows if there are current transitions of factories into GreenTech manifacturers/factories that are to occur this year, in 2010.

Please provide any leads that you may h ave, thank you.


Another terrific piece ...

SolveClimate has become one of my top 10 go-to places first thing each morning, and stories like this are one of the reasons why. Kudos Renee, to you and the editors here.

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