Last week we got a glimpse of how many clean energy jobs California has—more than a half million, but at the same time we learned killing President Barak Obama’s (D) Clean Power Plan is a missed opportunity to create another half million jobs across the country. Meanwhile we also found out that the world’s biggest banks are still investing in extreme fossil fuels, thereby increasing climate change, but New York’s Green Bank is showing that investing in clean energy is turning a profit for it—ahead of schedule.
That renewable energy is one of the biggest new employers in the US, actually creating new jobs, is no surprise. But the numbers of people employed in clean energy is continuing to grow. California, for instance, now has more than 519,000 people working in clean energy, according to a new study from Environmental Entreprenuers (E2). The jobs are spread out over a number of sectors ranging from solar and wind to energy efficiency.
On the other side of things, E2 also introduced a new study showing that by President Trump’s (R) actions to kill former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, he’s effectively losing the opportunity to create more than 560,000 new jobs in clean energy. That’s more than the dying coal industry, which Trump has stated he wants to resurrect, can and will support.
The world’s biggest banks are also still supporting extreme fossil fuels with new investments in tar sands, Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil, as well as coal mining and other efforts, according to the latest Banking on Climate Change: Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card 2017. The report is funded by a wide swath of environmental and advocacy organizations including BankTrack, Sierra Club and Oil Change International, Rainforest Action Network and others. The most recent report found that in 2016 the world’s biggest banks invested $87 billion into extreme fossil fuel development. While its 22 percent less than the $111 billion the banks invested in such projects in 2015, the report asserted that the spending on such projects must continue to come down and 2016’s spending can not be an anomaly.
Meanwhile New York announced that the New York Green Bank, an organization created by the state to invest in renewable energy and technologies, produced $2.7 million in profits on $291.6 million in its investments since 2014. While the return isn’t huge, it comes a year ahead of schedule, showing that renewables are worthy of investment.
A lot also is going on at the state level. In Florida, the gates have opened to rooftop solar as Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed Senate Bill 90 (SB 90). That bill excludes solar from property taxes and makes it easier for homes and businesses to invest in solar. The legislation enacted the popular Amendment 4, which passed with more than 70 percent of citizens’ votes.
A new report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance found that Illinois' government has quietly taken actions to prepare for a distributed energy boom. The state has taken action to change how electricity is generated, sold and consumed in the state, making it easier for people and businesses to develop distributed solar and other renewables in the state.
While it hasn’t been signed into law, Maine’s legislature is pushing to expand net-metering and community solar in the state. That’s despite opposition from Gov. Paul LePage (R). Still, the legislation has already seen interest from both houses of legislature and could be passed with a veto-proof majority.
A new report out from the Analysis Group will help take the wind out of the sails of those opposed to renewable energy, like LePage and Trump. The report showed that there’s no evidence that adding in more renewable energy like wind and solar is negatively impacting the US electric grid. The report also found that market forces are the biggest culprit behind utilities' actions when it comes to shuttering coal and nuclear plants early. Energy from wind, solar and natural gas, are just cheaper than coal, it found.
To help ensure that momentum towards a cleaner energy nation continues, NextGen Climate launched the NetGen Rising campaign. The campaign, which launched in Virginia, will focus on eight key states in the next election cycle. It’s aimed at young voters and will take place on college campuses and also will include get out the efforts.Tweet