With most of us living in states that are sitting at 10% unemployment and as many as 30 million people looking for work, it is very difficult to see a bright spot in this economy. However, there is one. Even though other industries seem to be losing jobs, clean energy keeps on growing.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar industry will have a 26% job growth rate in 2011. The solar industry is creating jobs faster than the US economy (which is only looking at a 2% increase). SEIA found that more than half of the US solar firms expect to add jobs while less than 2% expected to lay workers off. The fastest growing jobs in this field are for installers and electricians.
Thanks to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), the geothermal energy industry will also have a great 2011. The projects that have been jump started by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act should add more than 3000 jobs in 2011. These jobs will be added mostly in California and Nevada. The great thing is that almost 1000 different people are involved in one geothermal project according to the Geothermal Energy Association. These projects put a lot of people to work and employ welders, mechanics, pipe fitters, plumbers, machinists, electricians, carpenters, construction and drilling equipment operators, surveyors, architects, designers, HVAC technicians, geologists, hydrologists, and engineers. This is just a short list of the jobs that these projects create. Since these projects have long lead times, most of the projects have not been able to start yet (or if they have, they have just started) and will be done in 2011.
As of June 2010, the biorefinery industry accounted for more than 40,000 jobs according to the Biotechnology Industry Organization. By 2022, the commercialization of biofuels is expected to create another 800,000 new jobs. Jobs in this industry include laborers, material movers, mixing machine setters, shipping and receiving clerks, and chemical equipment operators.
Right now, hydropower is the industry that has the most capacity working right now. Currently, there are 2 - 3 workers per megawatt of capacity. With 100,000 MW of hydropower capacity currently being generated, the hydropower industry accounts for 200,000 - 300,000 jobs. Now, depending on how the states award clean energy (through RES's), you can easily be adding anywhere from a half a million to over 1.4 million jobs in the upcoming years! Jobs in this industry range from component manufacturing, project construction, regulatory studies, licensing, design, project commissioning and model testing.
It would be great to be able to look into a crystal ball to see how exactly the renewable energy job market will be for the next couple of years. Depending on the industry, you are seeing projections for next year all the way up to 2025. However, by using some of the numbers you see above, the clean energy industry will definitely be making a dent in the unemployment rate of this country. This industry alone is poised to put 8% of the 30 million people looking for jobs back to work, and hopefully turn the economy around while helping to save the Earth.
Douglas Michaels Jr. writes educational articles for Green Earth News, the authority on everything Bamboo. For more information on Worldwide Impact. Check out Green Earth Bamboo for bamboo sheets, bamboo clothes, duvet covers, towels and baby products, all made from the world's most sustainable and renewable resource on the planet.