Reports project green jobs, power

A couple of recent reports spell a bright future for the green building movement and renewable energy.

The green building industry will more than double by 2015 to a market value of $173.5 billion, according to the first of the two reports.

Fort Collins, Colo.-based EL Insights, an online energy industry trade publication, said expansion will proceed at a clip of about 19.5 percent annually from an estimated $71.1 billion this year. The magazine cited increased environmental awareness as the result of the Gulf oil spill, direct investment by large corporations and commercial construction.

Commercial green building is projected to grow by 18.1% annually, the magazine said. This would take the sector from $35.6 billion to $81.8 billion and create a potential 2.5 million jobs, which could expand the construction industry by a third.

"So if you haven't been paying attention to the U.S. Green Building Council, now is the time to start -- the nonprofit offers virtually endless amounts of information on green building studies and LEED certification," writes Ariel Schwartz of LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The second report, "Economic Benefits of a Comprehensive Feed-In Tariff: An Analysis of the REESA in California," contains a caveat. The report by the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley says that nearly 300,000 green jobs could be created in the next decade but their materialization requires passage of the Renewable Energy and Economic Stimulus Act now pending in the state Legislature.

The report says the act -- AB 1106 and now in the Senate Appropriations Committee -- would not only enable the state expand its renewable energy to a third of all power generation by 2020 but create 280,000 jobs over the next decade. It also would "increase state revenues by an estimated $1.7 billion" and "stimulate up to $50 billion in total new investment in the state."

A feed-in tariff is defined as a "pre-specified electricity price paid to mid-sized clean energy distributed generation installations ... with rates set commensurate with the projected cost of generation." Said another way: Renewable energy generators would get about what it costs to the produce power.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.