Energy efficiency now employs 8 million, and renewable energy 450,000, in the U.S. Renewable energy creates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, unit of energy produced, and dollar invested than fossil energy. Generating 20 percent of U.S. electricity from new renewable energy by 2020 will add 185,000 new jobs, while cumulatively reducing utility bills $10.5 billion and increasing rural landowner income by $26.5 billion. A national light vehicle efficiency standard of 35 mpg by 2018 will create 241,000 jobs, including 23,900 in the automotive sector, while saving consumers $37 billion in 2020 alone. The Massachusetts clean energy sector employs 14,000 and will soon be the state’s 10th largest economic sector. Washington state’s 15 percent renewable energy standard will result in a net increase of 1,230 jobs in-state. California’s Million Solar Roof Initiative will generate 15,000 jobs there. Germany employs 214,000 in renewable energy, including 64,000 in wind. Denmark’s wind industry employs 20,000 and Spain’s 35,000. U.S. wind power was responsible for 16,000 direct jobs and 36,800 total jobs in 2006.
Not to mention which, renewables revive communities.
Julia Whitty is Mother Jones’ environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.