San Joaquin Valley To See Cleantech Boom

The major economic waves that have swept across California in recent decades–including biotechnology and computer technology–have largely sidestepped the San Joaquin Valley. Not so cleantech. According to a new study [PDF] from by UC Merced Professor Dr. Shawn Kantor, planned and pending-approval renewable energy projects could bring more than 100,000 jobs to the area in the next few years.

The report was issued by the California Business Alliance for a Green Economy (CBAGE) and examines the likely economic effects of renewable energy projects by Hydrogen Energy California, Bioenergy, Madera Power, DTE Energy Services, Eurus San Drag, and SPS Alpaugh, among others. According to the CBAGE, the San Joaquin Valley is well positioned to attract jobs in the clean energy sector, and the transition to cleaner energy sources is expected to bring economic growth to the region, supporting cleantech as well as traditional business.

San Joaquin Valley Map

image via Valley CAN

The expected economic growth due to renewable energy projects in the San Joaquin Valley puts the area’s cleantech sector job growth at a pace equal to (or better than) other regions of the state. For example, statewide employment in clean energy grew 36% from 1995 to 2008, while San Joaquin Valley employment increased by 48% over the same period.

Once all pending biomass, solar, hydrogen and wind energy projects in the San Joaquin Valley come online, the area is expected to produce 10% of California’s renewable energy within the next ten years. (Sunshine, clearly, is a factor here, with the majority of job creation coming from solar.)

“These jobs are coming to California because of clean energy policies that make us a leader in the nation,” said Tom Cotter, Central California sales manager for Real Goods Solar and member of the California Business Alliance for a Green Economy, in a statement.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.