The green workforce is still in its infancy, but Pennsylvania has already hit its growth spurt, and many believe it could last for decades. Pennsylvania ranked third, behind only California and Texas, in clean energy jobs according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report issued last week. The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America, the first count of such jobs in all 50 states, credited Pennsylvania with 38,763 green jobs in 2007.
“These clean energy giants and startups are here in Pennsylvania because of our robust policies and programs that are helping build our green energy economy,” says Jan Jarrett, CEO of PennFuture, a Harrisburg-based public interest organization that has successfully advocated for landmark environmental legislation. “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Governor Ed Rendell has mandated 18 percent of the state’s utilities come from alternative energy sources by 2021. That has paved the way for green job growth through both large companies setting up shop here and increased funding for emerging local companies.
Spanish wind energy giants like Gamesa and Iberdrola have created hundreds of jobs in PA, and in the last 10 years, the state has become home to 11 operating wind farms with four more under construction and 13 more proposed.
International solar powerhouse Conergy is teaming up with Epuron and Exelon to build one of the nation’s largest solar power plants, while other smaller plants like Solar Power Industries in Westmoreland County, Polysilicon Corp. in Fairless Hills and Plextronics in Pittsburgh are taking off.
“With the (electric utilities) rate caps due to come off, and with federal stimulus money now coming in, we expect exponential growth in clean and green energy,” says Jarrett.
Source: Jan Jarrett, PennFuture
Writer: Joe Petrucci