In the midst of the non-stop gloom and doom economic news, there’s great news about job creation in renewable energy. The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining, according to CNN. Wind industry jobs have increased an incredible 70 percent over the past year, up to 85,000 jobs in total, which includes 13,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector—and manufacturing (think: auto industry) is one of the hardest hit sectors of the economy overall.
More good news: we appear to be tapping only a small portion of the job growth potential, since renewable energy overall supplies only a tiny fraction of the nation’s electricity supply (about 3 percent). Coal, on the other hand, supplies about 50 percent of the nation’s electricity.
Governor Kulongoski’s efforts to prioritize renewable energy in the 2009 budget look ever more prescient when you consider these statistics and the possibility that investment in renewable will create more jobs in Oregon.
I believe we should also consider helping struggling universities and community colleges to help train those workers for the green jobs of the future. We certainly don’t want this to happen again, now or in the future.