Wind, Solar Investments Supporting Nearly 60,000 Jobs

As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases monthly unemployment statistics today, Environment America released an estimate of the clean energy jobs supported in the solar and wind industries last year by a federal renewable energy grant program.

The program’s investment in wind and solar, which is a small portion of the total investment in these projects, supported an estimated 59,000 jobs nationwide.1 The program was set to expire at the end of 2010, but a campaign waged by Environment America and other clean energy advocates helped to get it extended last December.

“America’s potential to generate clean, renewable energy is as limitless as the power of the sun. Clean energy investments are helping Americans to harness that potential to create good, green jobs in a great time of need,” said Sean Garren, Clean Energy Advocate of Environment America. “Our estimates show that federal investments in clean energy are playing a critical role in protecting our health by reducing pollution and spurring the country’s economic recovery.”

Hundreds of projects have received grants through the program and are returning tremendous benefits, including:

  • A 150 wind turbine project in Livingston County, Illinois, which will contribute as much as $3.5 million to the local tax base and pay around $1.2 million to local landowners in leases. During its year and half long construction, the project employed an average of 180 workers. While supporting the local economy and creating clean energy jobs, this project will generate enough energy to power more than 70,000 typical homes.
  • A major expansion of the Posty Cards manufacturing facility in Kansas City, MO was supported with a grant through the program for their 198 solar panels. The company is seeking LEED Platinum certification for their facility, and is projected to expand their employment by 58% in the next five years.

“At a time when many companies and whole sectors were slowing down, this federal investment program really helped the renewable energy industries to come off the bench to deliver a slam dunk for our economy and our environment,” said Garren.

1.Calculated using total reported grants from the Treasury Department and job statistics from Heintz, Pollin, Garrett-Peltier, "How Infrastructure Investments Support the U.S. Economy, January, 2009." Available at the link below (pdf).

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