The drive to keep tax money out of the hands of foreign energy producers drives green job growth for some states.
The recent economic downturn coupled with gas prices at an all time high has renewed calls for America to become less dependent on foreign oil and energy production. The drive for energy independence is sweeping the nation, especially with the election season in full swing. Dr. Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy summarized the solution quite simply, “the most direct way to reduce our dependency on foreign oil is to simply use less of it.” While this may sound like an overly simplified answer to a complex problem, we assure you it is not. The resources to produce ample amounts of energy exist right in our own backyard and implementing those solutions is the key to stimulating growth in the green job sector.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy recently named Massachusetts the top state when it comes to being energy efficient. The clean energy sector in Massachusetts saw a 6.7 percent increase in jobs through 2011, this helped boost the economy and pushed the state’s unemployment rate below the national average. Much of this success was thanks to the support of Governor Deval Patrick, pushing for energy independence by implementing clean energy initiatives. “Every dollar spent on foreign energy is another dollar taken away from our Massachusetts economy,” according to Governor Patrick.
Massachusetts was able to achieve these successes by implementing a two pronged approach. One focused on generating more clean energy through solar power. The state’s solar power production increased to 100 megawatts in 2012, up from just 3 megawatts in 2007. Additionally, the governor recognized the regional gas and electric utility companies that help consumers become more energy efficient, reducing overall demand on the grid. Patrick went on to say “We are better positioned than any other state in America to capitalize on good jobs, the long-term economic growth activity and the cleaner environment that comes with an ambitious energy agenda.”
The United States currently consumes over 20 million barrels of oil each day, 70 percent of which is from foreign sources. The development of alternate energy sources and fuels could free the American economy and perhaps the global economy from our dependence on oil. Based on the U.S. Department of Energy, energy independence in America will provide hundreds of billions of dollars in new wealth and stimulate green job growth. This radical economic shift could mobilize the work force at rate not seen since World War II. Considering the state of the economy and that our planet is screaming for help, energy independence can’t come fast enough.