Advanced energy solutions could create industrial hubs of innovation and skilled jobs

Building on a state’s strengths in advanced energy solutions, including wind and solar power, carbon fiber composites, and smart buildings, can maximize job growth and give a state a competitive economic edge.

That is according to a new report from American Jobs Project, created in partnership with universities and local stakeholders around the country and funded by the JPB Foundation, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.

In partnership with local universities and stakeholders in government, business, and advocacy, the American Jobs Project created 10 state-specific reports. Each outlines a state’s competitive advantage in manufacturing two advanced energy technologies that range from solar panels to smart building technology to carbon fiber composites. Each state report also details opportunities to further develop these two advanced energy industries and support thousands of jobs.

“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on industrial clusters can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced energy industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Hank Love, project manager for the American Jobs Project.

The reports recommend innovative strategies to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.

“By aligning these components and supporting them with policy, each state can create an economic engine that maximizes job growth and provides a competitive edge,” said Love.

On the national level, the American Jobs Project notes that advanced energy manufacturing is an opportunity for job creation. The global advanced energy sector is expected to employ up to 16.7 million people by 2030, almost tripling the 5.7 million people employed in the sector as of 2012. Renewable energy will account for 69 to 74 percent of new generation installed between now and 2030, and demand for advanced energy will continue to grow over the next 15 years.

Each year, many states send billions of dollars out of state to import fuels, according to the report, and states can keep this money in-state and grow their own economies by developing advanced energy industries. Advanced energy manufacturing is ideal for job growth in many states due to strong foundations of original equipment manufacturers, a skilled labor base, well-established research institutions, and extensive untapped resources such as solar and wind that could generate electricity.

Among the state-specific findings, the report found that Florida can support as many as 98,500 jobs annually from 2016 to 2030 in the solar and biofuel industries. Georgia can support as many as 24,000 jobs annually from 2016 to 2030 in the solar and smart building/energy efficiency industries. North Carolina can support as many as 19,000 jobs per year from 2016 to 2030 in the utility-scale battery and biogas industries. Virginia can support as many as 19,000 jobs annually from 2016 to 2030 in the offshore wind and carbon fiber composite industries. Pennsylvania can support as many as 11,600 jobs per year from 2016 to 2030 in the solar and smart building/energy efficiency industries. Ohio can support as many as 26,000 jobs annually from 2016 to 2030 in the wind and additive manufacturing industries. Michigan can support as many as 12,000 jobs per year from 2016 to 2030 in the solar and smart building/energy efficiency industries. Iowa can support as many as 18,000 jobs annually from 2016 to 2030 in the wind and solar industries. Colorado can support as many as 13,000 jobs annually from 2016 to 2030 in the wind and solar industries. Nevada can support as many as 28,000 jobs annually from 2016 to 2030 in the battery and solar industries.

“Skilled jobs that pay well –including manufacturing jobs — are an important part of the opportunity available to states interested in advanced energy technologies,” said former Secretary of State George P. Shultz. “And as the advanced energy industry continues to grow, so does the opportunity.”

The American Jobs Project partnered with universities in each of the 10 states to create the reports, including Florida Energy Systems Consortium; Georgia Tech; North Carolina State University; Virginia Tech; Pennsylvania’s Carnegie Mellon University; Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University; University of Michigan; University of Iowa; Colorado State University; and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

http://www.smartgridnews.com/story/advanced-energy-industry-could-create-hubs-innovation-jobs/2016-04-05