Will moving toward clean, renewable energy kill jobs or grow them? Researchers at the University of Tennessee have tossed more kindling on that raging debate, reporting [PDF] that pursing the goal of reaching 25 percent renewables by 2025 could create 1.4 mllion by 2015, 2.9 million by 2020 and 4.7 million by 2025.
Perhaps the results of the study aren’t surprising, given it was released by the 25x’25 Alliance, whose goal is – you guessed it – to have the United States getting 25 percent of its power from renewables by 2025. But with conservatives taking aim at the Obama green jobs agenda, the study will no doubt provide fuel for supporters to use in fighting back.
The study, done by the Bio-based Energy Analysis Group at the University of Tennessee, didn’t assume a particular set of policies, but instead tried to measure the impact of reaching the 25x’25 vision. In doing so, bio-based energy sources played a big role, with the study estimating that 15.45 quads of energy could be produced by biomass to replace gasoline, natural gas, diesel and coal demands, while solar and wind ould chip in with 7 quads of energy. “Contributions from America’s farms, forests and ranches could result in the production of 87.2 billion gallons of biofuels annually, which has the potential to decrease gasoline consumption by 59 billion gallons (based on Btu content) in 2025,” the study’s backers said.
As a result, rural states would see big benefits, with states such as Missouri (240,800 jobs), Illinois (201,000) and Iowa (196,300) seeing big job gains.
“This report makes clear – and should make clear to policy makers – that these renewable energy resources and a 25x’25 clean energy future offer the nation a triple bottom line of energy security, environmental benefits and economic recovery,” said Read Smith, co-chairman of the National 25x’25 Steering Committee.
The full study is available online [PDF].