Clean Energy Jobs Find Fertile Ground In Maryland

A recent survey found that a rapidly growing clean energy industry has become a major source of jobs in Maryland, despite the national sluggish economy. Almost half of the 179 green businesses polled in the 2012 Maryland Clean Energy Industry Survey expect to employ more workers in 2012 compared to 2011, and nearly 13 percent already employ more than 100 workers.

The poll, conducted by the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), also found that nearly 40 percent of surveyed businesses reported more than $1 million in revenue in 2011, while only 27 percent made less than $100,000 in revenue. Despite this encouraging portfolio, many of the businesses expressed concern that unfriendly government policies might stunt their growth.

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While current policies and incentives have helped the state’s clean energy industry to grow, many members of Maryland’s clean energy and energy efficiency technology industries are worried about what will happen if those incentives disappear. Nearly 55 percent of all respondents said Maryland’s state and local policy and tax incentives have led to expansion of their business. Eighty percent uncertain policy at the federal, state, or local level as the biggest barrier to their success.

Forty-eight percent of surveyed businesses said that expansion of Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard would help them to add more jobs, although few have taken action to ensure this will happen. Fifty-eight percent of respondents admitted they have not met with their state delegate or senator to express their opinions on energy policy issues.

The situation in Maryland is one we’re seeing played out across the nation. States that created aggressive renewable energy generation standards have jumped out ahead as leaders in wind, solar, and green technology. But a political reluctance to shift R&D dollars and tax subsidies away from traditional energy industries has created tension and puts continued growth in jeopardy. Companies that built their business plans on the assumption that these policies would be permanent now find themselves worried about how to sustain their success.

Read the full MCEC report here [PDF]

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog