Green Jobs: A Bipartisan Mirage

Bipartisanship—that romanticized political ideal of a bygone era when Democrats and Republicans could commune together without vitriol and unite behind shared goals—is dead.

Five months removed from the most socially-divisive presidential election in living memory, the likelihood of politicians reaching across the aisle to work together seems exceedingly thin. Political scientists describe our present era as among the most polarizing in our nation’s history.

But, for some, there is hope. Like Rocky speaking to the crowd after defeating Ivan Drago, these merchants of bipartisanship proclaim, “If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”

This bipartisan platform—this unicorn—is the promise of green jobs.

Jobs in industries like wind and solar, advocates profess, are a political panacea—soothing the environmental concerns of the left and the employment concerns of the right in one fell swoop. The record does in fact show that both Democrats and Republicans have considered green jobs a winning issue. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of four senators from the party to spearhead the Senate Energy and Environment Working Group, argued in 2015, “We must have energy independence. And in the process, I believe it is possible to produce a safe, clean environment, and create new well-paying jobs for Americans of all generations.” Former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, another then-member of the working group, said the purpose was to “focus on ways we can protect our environment and climate while also bolstering clean energy innovation that helps drive job creation.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s website touts green jobs in stunningly similar terms, “Now more than ever, House Democrats want to move America in a new direction for energy independence — working to lower energy prices, make America more secure, and launch a cleaner, smarter, more cost-effective energy future that creates hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs.”

And to much publicity, green jobs are indeed on the ascent. As the Washington Post reported last week, the fastest-growing occupation in the country is wind turbine technician.

The Department of Energy’s recently released U.S. Energy and Employment Report reveals a trove of interesting data on this topic. It informs us, for example, that solar technologies employ 374,000 workers in the US—a whopping 43 percent of the electricity generation workforce. Wind employs another 102,000 workers—accounting for 12 percent of the electricity generation workforce—meaning that these touted green jobs now make up over half of our electricity generation jobs in total. Coal, oil, and natural gas, meanwhile, employ 87,000 workers—just 22 percent of the electricity generation workforce. Now, of course, we must take into account that the coal, oil, and natural gas electricity generation number doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of workers who ply their trade closer to the sources’ extraction points and are classified under the “fuels” designation rather than the “electricity generation” designation.

Nevertheless, the volume and growth of green jobs is noteworthy. The number of jobs added from 2015 to 2016 in wind and solar dwarfs the new job additions in coal, oil, and natural gas electricity generation by a ratio of more than six to one. Solar employment expanded by 25 percent from 2015 to 2016 and wind increased by 32 percent.

That sure sounds like a bipartisan winner, doesn’t it? 25 to 30 percent growth is—as the president might say—tremendous.

And yet, something is wrong with this picture. The job numbers are there, but something more critical isn’t: actual electricity generation.

Despite green jobs making up more than half of the jobs in the electricity generation sector, wind and solar combined to generate a paltry 6.5 percent of our central station electricity in 2016, with wind producing 5.6. That means that despite accounting for 43 percent of the electricity generation workforce, solar energy produced less than one percent of our central station electricity. When distributed generation is included, it produced another 0.5 percent of generation for a total of 1.4 percent.

Let me state that again: solar accounts for 43 percent of the electricity generation workforce. And it generates about one percent of our electricity.

What if other sectors of our economy looked this way?

What if McDonald’s employed 43 percent of all burger joint employees nationwide, but could only produce one percent of the burgers needed by a hungry public?

You’d rightly suspect something had gone very wrong in someone’s economic calculations. That’s the situation we’re in now with these touted green jobs.

Something has clearly gone amiss.

At this point you might be thinking, “Well, yes, the electricity generation is low now for solar, but many of those 374,000 jobs are in solar construction, so we’re on the verge of a solar generation windfall, right?”

Wrong.

Despite the vigorous appearance that the green jobs growth numbers give wind and solar, the Energy Information Agency forecasts that the electricity fuel mix will remain virtually unchanged for the next two years. EIA estimates solar will move from producing just under one percent in 2016 to 1.4 percent of our central station (utility-scale) electricity in 2018. Coal, for comparison, is expected to climb as well—from 30.4 percent in 2016 to 31.1 percent in 2018—as natural gas prices rise.

If 2018 is too short a time horizon to dash your hopes for solar productivity, consider EIA’s long-range projections. In its non-Clean Power Plan scenarios even in year 2040—more than two decades from now—all of the sources EIA classifies as renewables (hydroelectric, biomass, wind, solar, etc.), which today combine to make up about 15 percent of our electricity, will still combine to produce only about a quarter of our electricity in 2040.

Solar energy will produce about 6 percent in 2040. Wind will produce about 9 percent. And natural gas and coal will supply around 34 percent and 28 percent respectively.

With the current electricity fuel mix and long-range projections showing a rather marginal—and at best supplementary—role for solar and wind, we’re left to wonder: are green jobs the bipartisan silver bullet they’re cracked up to be or are they instead a bipartisan mirage?

The post Green Jobs: A Bipartisan Mirage appeared first on IER.

Green Jobs: A Bipartisan Mirage

Bipartisanship—that romanticized political ideal of a bygone era when Democrats and Republicans could commune together without vitriol and unite behind shared goals—is dead.

Five months removed from the most socially-divisive presidential election in living memory, the likelihood of politicians reaching across the aisle to work together seems exceedingly thin. Political scientists describe our present era as among the most polarizing in our nation’s history.

But, for some, there is hope. Like Rocky speaking to the crowd after defeating Ivan Drago, these merchants of bipartisanship proclaim, “If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”

This bipartisan platform—this unicorn—is the promise of green jobs.

Jobs in industries like wind and solar, advocates profess, are a political panacea—soothing the environmental concerns of the left and the employment concerns of the right in one fell swoop. The record does in fact show that both Democrats and Republicans have considered green jobs a winning issue. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of four senators from the party to spearhead the Senate Energy and Environment Working Group, argued in 2015, “We must have energy independence. And in the process, I believe it is possible to produce a safe, clean environment, and create new well-paying jobs for Americans of all generations.” Former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, another then-member of the working group, said the purpose was to “focus on ways we can protect our environment and climate while also bolstering clean energy innovation that helps drive job creation.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s website touts green jobs in stunningly similar terms, “Now more than ever, House Democrats want to move America in a new direction for energy independence — working to lower energy prices, make America more secure, and launch a cleaner, smarter, more cost-effective energy future that creates hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs.”

And to much publicity, green jobs are indeed on the ascent. As the Washington Post reported last week, the fastest-growing occupation in the country is wind turbine technician.

The Department of Energy’s recently released U.S. Energy and Employment Report reveals a trove of interesting data on this topic. It informs us, for example, that solar technologies employ 374,000 workers in the US—a whopping 43 percent of the electricity generation workforce. Wind employs another 102,000 workers—accounting for 12 percent of the electricity generation workforce—meaning that these touted green jobs now make up over half of our electricity generation jobs in total. Coal, oil, and natural gas, meanwhile, employ 87,000 workers—just 22 percent of the electricity generation workforce. Now, of course, we must take into account that the coal, oil, and natural gas electricity generation number doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of workers who ply their trade closer to the sources’ extraction points and are classified under the “fuels” designation rather than the “electricity generation” designation.

Nevertheless, the volume and growth of green jobs is noteworthy. The number of jobs added from 2015 to 2016 in wind and solar dwarfs the new job additions in coal, oil, and natural gas electricity generation by a ratio of more than six to one. Solar employment expanded by 25 percent from 2015 to 2016 and wind increased by 32 percent.

That sure sounds like a bipartisan winner, doesn’t it? 25 to 30 percent growth is—as the president might say—tremendous.

And yet, something is wrong with this picture. The job numbers are there, but something more critical isn’t: actual electricity generation.

Despite green jobs making up more than half of the jobs in the electricity generation sector, wind and solar combined to generate a paltry 6.5 percent of our central station electricity in 2016, with wind producing 5.6. That means that despite accounting for 43 percent of the electricity generation workforce, solar energy produced less than one percent of our central station electricity. When distributed generation is included, it produced another 0.5 percent of generation for a total of 1.4 percent.

Let me state that again: solar accounts for 43 percent of the electricity generation workforce. And it generates about one percent of our electricity.

What if other sectors of our economy looked this way?

What if McDonald’s employed 43 percent of all burger joint employees nationwide, but could only produce one percent of the burgers needed by a hungry public?

You’d rightly suspect something had gone very wrong in someone’s economic calculations. That’s the situation we’re in now with these touted green jobs.

Something has clearly gone amiss.

At this point you might be thinking, “Well, yes, the electricity generation is low now for solar, but many of those 374,000 jobs are in solar construction, so we’re on the verge of a solar generation windfall, right?”

Wrong.

Despite the vigorous appearance that the green jobs growth numbers give wind and solar, the Energy Information Agency forecasts that the electricity fuel mix will remain virtually unchanged for the next two years. EIA estimates solar will move from producing just under one percent in 2016 to 1.4 percent of our central station (utility-scale) electricity in 2018. Coal, for comparison, is expected to climb as well—from 30.4 percent in 2016 to 31.1 percent in 2018—as natural gas prices rise.

If 2018 is too short a time horizon to dash your hopes for solar productivity, consider EIA’s long-range projections. In its non-Clean Power Plan scenarios even in year 2040—more than two decades from now—all of the sources EIA classifies as renewables (hydroelectric, biomass, wind, solar, etc.), which today combine to make up about 15 percent of our electricity, will still combine to produce only about a quarter of our electricity in 2040.

Solar energy will produce about 6 percent in 2040. Wind will produce about 9 percent. And natural gas and coal will supply around 34 percent and 28 percent respectively.

With the current electricity fuel mix and long-range projections showing a rather marginal—and at best supplementary—role for solar and wind, we’re left to wonder: are green jobs the bipartisan silver bullet they’re cracked up to be or are they instead a bipartisan mirage?

The post Green Jobs: A Bipartisan Mirage appeared first on IER.

Green Jobs: A Bipartisan Mirage

Bipartisanship—that romanticized political ideal of a bygone era when Democrats and Republicans could commune together without vitriol and unite behind shared goals—is dead.

Five months removed from the most socially-divisive presidential election in living memory, the likelihood of politicians reaching across the aisle to work together seems exceedingly thin. Political scientists describe our present era as among the most polarizing in our nation’s history.

But, for some, there is hope. Like Rocky speaking to the crowd after defeating Ivan Drago, these merchants of bipartisanship proclaim, “If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”

This bipartisan platform—this unicorn—is the promise of green jobs.

Jobs in industries like wind and solar, advocates profess, are a political panacea—soothing the environmental concerns of the left and the employment concerns of the right in one fell swoop. The record does in fact show that both Democrats and Republicans have considered green jobs a winning issue. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of four senators from the party to spearhead the Senate Energy and Environment Working Group, argued in 2015, “We must have energy independence. And in the process, I believe it is possible to produce a safe, clean environment, and create new well-paying jobs for Americans of all generations.” Former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, another then-member of the working group, said the purpose was to “focus on ways we can protect our environment and climate while also bolstering clean energy innovation that helps drive job creation.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s website touts green jobs in stunningly similar terms, “Now more than ever, House Democrats want to move America in a new direction for energy independence — working to lower energy prices, make America more secure, and launch a cleaner, smarter, more cost-effective energy future that creates hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs.”

And to much publicity, green jobs are indeed on the ascent. As the Washington Post reported last week, the fastest-growing occupation in the country is wind turbine technician.

The Department of Energy’s recently released U.S. Energy and Employment Report reveals a trove of interesting data on this topic. It informs us, for example, that solar technologies employ 374,000 workers in the US—a whopping 43 percent of the electricity generation workforce. Wind employs another 102,000 workers—accounting for 12 percent of the electricity generation workforce—meaning that these touted green jobs now make up over half of our electricity generation jobs in total. Coal, oil, and natural gas, meanwhile, employ 87,000 workers—just 22 percent of the electricity generation workforce. Now, of course, we must take into account that the coal, oil, and natural gas electricity generation number doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of workers who ply their trade closer to the sources’ extraction points and are classified under the “fuels” designation rather than the “electricity generation” designation.

Nevertheless, the volume and growth of green jobs is noteworthy. The number of jobs added from 2015 to 2016 in wind and solar dwarfs the new job additions in coal, oil, and natural gas electricity generation by a ratio of more than six to one. Solar employment expanded by 25 percent from 2015 to 2016 and wind increased by 32 percent.

That sure sounds like a bipartisan winner, doesn’t it? 25 to 30 percent growth is—as the president might say—tremendous.

And yet, something is wrong with this picture. The job numbers are there, but something more critical isn’t: actual electricity generation.

Despite green jobs making up more than half of the jobs in the electricity generation sector, wind and solar combined to generate a paltry 6.5 percent of our central station electricity in 2016, with wind producing 5.6. That means that despite accounting for 43 percent of the electricity generation workforce, solar energy produced less than one percent of our central station electricity. When distributed generation is included, it produced another 0.5 percent of generation for a total of 1.4 percent.

Let me state that again: solar accounts for 43 percent of the electricity generation workforce. And it generates about one percent of our electricity.

What if other sectors of our economy looked this way?

What if McDonald’s employed 43 percent of all burger joint employees nationwide, but could only produce one percent of the burgers needed by a hungry public?

You’d rightly suspect something had gone very wrong in someone’s economic calculations. That’s the situation we’re in now with these touted green jobs.

Something has clearly gone amiss.

At this point you might be thinking, “Well, yes, the electricity generation is low now for solar, but many of those 374,000 jobs are in solar construction, so we’re on the verge of a solar generation windfall, right?”

Wrong.

Despite the vigorous appearance that the green jobs growth numbers give wind and solar, the Energy Information Agency forecasts that the electricity fuel mix will remain virtually unchanged for the next two years. EIA estimates solar will move from producing just under one percent in 2016 to 1.4 percent of our central station (utility-scale) electricity in 2018. Coal, for comparison, is expected to climb as well—from 30.4 percent in 2016 to 31.1 percent in 2018—as natural gas prices rise.

If 2018 is too short a time horizon to dash your hopes for solar productivity, consider EIA’s long-range projections. In its non-Clean Power Plan scenarios even in year 2040—more than two decades from now—all of the sources EIA classifies as renewables (hydroelectric, biomass, wind, solar, etc.), which today combine to make up about 15 percent of our electricity, will still combine to produce only about a quarter of our electricity in 2040.

Solar energy will produce about 6 percent in 2040. Wind will produce about 9 percent. And natural gas and coal will supply around 34 percent and 28 percent respectively.

With the current electricity fuel mix and long-range projections showing a rather marginal—and at best supplementary—role for solar and wind, we’re left to wonder: are green jobs the bipartisan silver bullet they’re cracked up to be or are they instead a bipartisan mirage?

The post Green Jobs: A Bipartisan Mirage appeared first on IER.

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/04/green-jobs-bipartisan-mirage.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

Strengthening Community Through Solar

Dayne came to Solar Energy International (SEI) with his eyes toward the future: his future career, a more prosperous future for his community, and a sustainable future for his wife and son. Dayne travelled from Lapwai, ID where he works at the Nez Perce National Historic Park and is a member of the Nez Perce Tribe. He sees solar as a way to support the people and organizations he cares about. His first day in class, Dayne shared that, in part, he wants to use his solar training to ensure his son would never have to worry about utility bills. He’s hoping to integrate solar electric and solar thermal systems into his home, along with an orchard, so his son will be provided for into the future.

It soon became clear that Dayne’s solar aspirations extended far into his community. He hopes to utilize solar technology as a way to be a responsible steward of the planet and reduce energy costs for his church and other community programs. “With the community saving some money there will be more funding for better programs. Programs that would fix the roads, sidewalks, school programs and supplies, better equipment for the clinics, funding for that clinic to grow to a hospital. Funding to have a full fire station instead of a fire department run on volunteers. That’s my goal as a community member, Nez Perce Tribal member, First Presbyterian Church Trustee and most importantly of all, Husband and Father.”

He is taking great strides into his future through his pursuit of solar training. His first step was research on the industry and certification. Eventually,  Dayne hopes to become a NABCEP Certified Solar Installer and  he found SEI’s program through the educational resources page. He is well on his way as his journey to SEI’s Paonia, CO training for PV201L: Solar Electric Lab Week  marked his completion of SEI’s Solar Professionals Certificate Program for Residential and Commercial Photovoltaic Systems. The SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program is a selective admissions program to help ensure the success of our students and provide a quality workforce for the solar industry. His application and performance demonstrated his commitment to his solar training and all of the skills and dedication he’d bring to a future solar career. Now that he’s completed the five requisite courses, both online and in-person, to complete this certificate program, he’ll be ready to take the NABCEP PV Certification exam. SEI eagerly awaits word of his success the good work he’s doing for his community.

The post Strengthening Community Through Solar appeared first on Solar Training – Solar Installer Training – Solar PV Installation Training – Solar Energy Courses – Renewable Energy Education – NABCEP – Solar Energy International (SEI).

Strengthening Community Through Solar

Dayne came to Solar Energy International (SEI) with his eyes toward the future: his future career, a more prosperous future for his community, and a sustainable future for his wife and son. Dayne travelled from Lapwai, ID where he works at the Nez Perce National Historic Park and is a member of the Nez Perce Tribe. He sees solar as a way to support the people and organizations he cares about. His first day in class, Dayne shared that, in part, he wants to use his solar training to ensure his son would never have to worry about utility bills. He’s hoping to integrate solar electric and solar thermal systems into his home, along with an orchard, so his son will be provided for into the future.

It soon became clear that Dayne’s solar aspirations extended far into his community. He hopes to utilize solar technology as a way to be a responsible steward of the planet and reduce energy costs for his church and other community programs. “With the community saving some money there will be more funding for better programs. Programs that would fix the roads, sidewalks, school programs and supplies, better equipment for the clinics, funding for that clinic to grow to a hospital. Funding to have a full fire station instead of a fire department run on volunteers. That’s my goal as a community member, Nez Perce Tribal member, First Presbyterian Church Trustee and most importantly of all, Husband and Father.”

He is taking great strides into his future through his pursuit of solar training. His first step was research on the industry and certification. Eventually,  Dayne hopes to become a NABCEP Certified Solar Installer and  he found SEI’s program through the educational resources page. He is well on his way as his journey to SEI’s Paonia, CO training for PV201L: Solar Electric Lab Week  marked his completion of SEI’s Solar Professionals Certificate Program for Residential and Commercial Photovoltaic Systems. The SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program is a selective admissions program to help ensure the success of our students and provide a quality workforce for the solar industry. His application and performance demonstrated his commitment to his solar training and all of the skills and dedication he’d bring to a future solar career. Now that he’s completed the five requisite courses, both online and in-person, to complete this certificate program, he’ll be ready to take the NABCEP PV Certification exam. SEI eagerly awaits word of his success the good work he’s doing for his community.

The post Strengthening Community Through Solar appeared first on Solar Training – Solar Installer Training – Solar PV Installation Training – Solar Energy Courses – Renewable Energy Education – NABCEP – Solar Energy International (SEI).

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/04/strengthening-community-through-solar.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

Solarize Delta County Announces Launch Event!

The Solarize team invites Delta County residents to join them to hear about Solarize Delta County Farms.  Solarize Delta County Farms provides educational outreach to the community about solar and renewable energy, and it provides an exclusive program discount if you register before July 18.

Join us as we celebrate the next phase of Solarize on Wednesday, April 26 at a Delta Chamber special event at CB’s Tavern in Delta! 
Who: Solar Energy International (SEI) and program partners Delta County Economic Development (DCED), Empowered Energy Systems, LLC, Sunsense, and Black Canyon Resources will be there to promote the launch of Solarize Delta County Farms
What:  Solarize Delta County Farms is an educational outreach program aimed at providing farms, businesses, and homes with a streamlined process to go solar
When:  April 26 at 5:00 pm
Where:  CB’s Tavern in Delta, Banquet Room, 334 Main Street
Why:  To formally celebrate and announce the launch  of Solarize Delta County Farms! A program bringing resources to the community about solar and renewable energy
For more details on the program contact the Solarize Team at solarize@solarenergy.org or call 970-527-7657 x213.  Sign up at www.solarenergy.org/solarize-delta-county-farms/ 

 

The post Solarize Delta County Announces Launch Event! appeared first on Solar Training – Solar Installer Training – Solar PV Installation Training – Solar Energy Courses – Renewable Energy Education – NABCEP – Solar Energy International (SEI).

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/04/solarize-delta-county-announces-launch.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

Strengthening Community Through Solar

Dayne came to Solar Energy International (SEI) with his eyes toward the future: his future career, a more prosperous future for his community, and a sustainable future for his wife and son. Dayne travelled from Lapwai, ID where he works at the Nez Perce National Historic Park and is a member of the Nez Perce Tribe. He sees solar as a way to support the people and organizations he cares about. His first day in class, Dayne shared that, in part, he wants to use his solar training to ensure his son would never have to worry about utility bills. He’s hoping to integrate solar electric and solar thermal systems into his home, along with an orchard, so his son will be provided for into the future.

It soon became clear that Dayne’s solar aspirations extended far into his community. He hopes to utilize solar technology as a way to be a responsible steward of the planet and reduce energy costs for his church and other community programs. “With the community saving some money there will be more funding for better programs. Programs that would fix the roads, sidewalks, school programs and supplies, better equipment for the clinics, funding for that clinic to grow to a hospital. Funding to have a full fire station instead of a fire department run on volunteers. That’s my goal as a community member, Nez Perce Tribal member, First Presbyterian Church Trustee and most importantly of all, Husband and Father.”

He is taking great strides into his future through his pursuit of solar training. His first step was research on the industry and certification. Eventually,  Dayne hopes to become a NABCEP Certified Solar Installer and  he found SEI’s program through the educational resources page. He is well on his way as his journey to SEI’s Paonia, CO training for PV201L: Solar Electric Lab Week  marked his completion of SEI’s Solar Professionals Certificate Program for Residential and Commercial Photovoltaic Systems. The SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program is a selective admissions program to help ensure the success of our students and provide a quality workforce for the solar industry. His application and performance demonstrated his commitment to his solar training and all of the skills and dedication he’d bring to a future solar career. Now that he’s completed the five requisite courses, both online and in-person, to complete this certificate program, he’ll be ready to take the NABCEP PV Certification exam. SEI eagerly awaits word of his success the good work he’s doing for his community.

The post Strengthening Community Through Solar appeared first on Solar Training – Solar Installer Training – Solar PV Installation Training – Solar Energy Courses – Renewable Energy Education – NABCEP – Solar Energy International (SEI).