GOOD

Good Green Jobs News for Your Friday Afternoon

There's good news—economic and environmental—out there on the green jobs front.

I was just about to write a post about a terribly depressing new climate science draft paper (PDF) by James Hansen and Makiko Sato about how we're sitting right at a tipping point that, when crossed, will all but guarantee multi-meter (as in six feet plus) sea level rise this century. And then I thought—it's Friday afternoon, and Friday afternoon is no time for depressing climate science.

Instead, here are some uplifting stories of the resiliency of clean and green tech jobs in the face of nationwide recession.


The Los Angeles Times wrote on Wednesday about California's strong green jobs growth, even as the credit crisis struck in late 2008:

Employers offering jobs in fields such as solar-power generation, electric-vehicle development and environmental consultation added 5,000 jobs in 2008, the latest data available. In all, about 174,000 Californians were working in eco-friendly fields by early 2009, compared with just 111,000 in 1995, said nonprofit research group Next 10....

he so-called green workforce expanded 3% from January 2008 to January 2009 — three times the growth of overall employment around the state. Standouts include the energy-generation sector, which includes renewable-energy efforts such as wind and hydropower. "There's very few business sectors that can employ people across every region, especially in a state as big as California," said entrepreneur F. Noel Perry, who founded Next 10.

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Then there's a Minnesota Public Radio report from yesterday about "green" manufacturing jobs holding and growing even in the teeth of the recession.

Manufacturing has been hit hard by the recession. But some Minnesota manufacturing companies are thriving and creating new jobs. They’re part of a small sector in the emerging “green economy.”...

Workers on a Brainerd assembly line, for example, are making a cutting-edge device that stores excess solar energy.

Silent Power manufactures specially designed batteries, housed in a box, that make the energy available later in the day, when utility companies typically struggle with peak power demand. The devices are being tested in pilot projects around the country.

“Every utility in the country is looking at adding battery storage to their system,” said Todd Headlee, the company’s CEO.

Headlee said the recession has had little impact on his seven-year-old company, because renewable energy is in high demand.

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Finally, over in Europe, Siemens is planning on adding 2,000 jobs in its renewable energy division this year. Bloomberg reports:

Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering company, will add at least 2,000 jobs at its renewable-energy division this year, as the business expands to meet rising demand for clean energy.

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Siemens has invested “hundreds of millions” of euros in wind energy since it entered the industry with an acquisition in 2004, Rene Umlauft, chief executive officer of the unit, said in a telephone interview yesterday. The unit employed 800 people in 2004 and plans to add to its current workforce of more than 7,000, he said.

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“We had a record order intake in 2010, and our goal is to increase orders by a double-digit amount this year,” Umlauft said.

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So there you have it. There is some good news on the climate and energy front—on the jobs front at least. The climate front, we can wait to talk about until Monday.

Photo (cc) by flickr user greenforall.org

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