Hesitation On Energy Policies Hurts U.S. Green Job Growth

For the past year, the Presidential election has dominated the American media and, arguably, public consciousness. Now that the election is behind us, many are anxious to start addressing the pressing issues that have fallen by the wayside. As we’ve reported previously, controversy over whether to extend the wind tax credit has already led to a loss of green energy jobs. Now, a new study shows that this political and regulatory uncertainty has slowed green job growth across sectors.

New analysis by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) indicates that what was once strong job growth in the clean energy sector is being reined in by uncertainty over politics and policies such as the production tax credit (PTC) for the wind industry that is about to expire.

green jobs, job growth, wind tax credit, production tax credit

Image via dana-k/Flickr

The report, titled “What Clean Energy Jobs? These Clean Energy Jobs!”, found that while still moving in a positive direction,  job growth this quarter was dramatically less than in the previous two quarters of 2012 – despite an improving economy.

The top 10 green job states in the third quarter of 2012 were (from 1 to 10): California, New York, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Texas, North Carolina, Minnesota, Illinois and Nevada. As part of its analysis, E2 tracked announcements involving more than 37,000 jobs in the clean energy sector in the second quarter. In the first quarter of this year, there were 46,000 clean energy jobs announced – more than four times as many as in the third quarter. In the wind industry, manufacturing job announcements fell to zero in the third quarter, compared to eight announcements in Q1 and two in Q2.

“It’s hard to expand your business and create new jobs with this much political uncertainty affecting the wind industry,” said Jacob Susman, founder and CEO of OwnEnergy, Inc, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based wind farm developer. “The election is now over, and the political posturing needs to end,” Susman said. “Congress should give businesses like mine the certainty we need to grow, by passing the Senate Finance Committee’s version of the PTC in the upcoming tax extenders package that will let us all get back to work.”

For the complete report, please see www.e2.org/cleanjobs.

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