Who Says Green Jobs Don't Exist? Not These Business Leaders

A group of business leaders, confused over the mismatch between what its members read and what they see on the street, is trying to set the record straight through a series of newsletters.

"All across America, we’re witnessing clean energy jobs being created almost every day—helping to rebuild our economy, address our energy problems, and improve our national security. (This is) in an attempt to provide some perspective from outside the Beltway, where one solar company’s failure isn’t indicative of the downfall of an entire industry," E2 Environmental Entrepreneurs says in its most recent report.

This is the sixth newsletter delivered to legislators since the first one debuted Oct. 3. The reports are presented weekly to each congressional office. The newest one suggests that recent announcements of up to 32,000 new green jobs in 40 states and 96 congressional districts are lost in the political chatter over the high-profile implosion of Solyndra, the solar company that received a government guarantee.

"In the past six weeks, E2 has identified 118 announcements by more than 100 companies, organizations, and projects in various stages of development and completion. They include manufacturing plants, power generation projects, energy-efficiency retrofits, and other announcements from the clean economy," the group notes.

California, where Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing a green agenda, has the greatest number of potential new jobs, 5,220. Florida, Michigan, New York and Arizona round out the top five.

Lots of industries represented

The prospective jobs announced over the last month and a half have been across the board in all types of clean energy. Solar power and energy efficiency lead the parade, but wind power, biomass and electric vehicles are well represented.

The authors suggest that Solyndra is receiving a disproportionate amount of publicity. "Recent solar-manufacturing announcements have received 1 percent of the media coverage given Solyndra," they say - and then they tick off a list of of new manufacturing plants.

Those include a General Electric thin film solar factory in Colorado, Dow Chemical's roof shingles project in Michigan, Stion's plant in Mississippi and others. A total of nine plant announcements over the last six weeks could produce 3,350 jobs in the United States over four years.

"And yet, you probably haven’t heard about these projects," the authors state. "That may be because more than 6,722 articles have been written in the last 90 days referencing Solyndra, compared with 79 articles about the nine new solar manufacturing facilities we identified."

Also announced were biofuel and battery manufacturing plants in Florida, and a wind-energy turbine gearbox manufacturing factory in Wisconsin, among others.

Fits and starts

The yin yang of clean energy doesn't surprise us. This is an emerging industry, and as such will stagger forward, sometimes stumbling. There is much consternation over what happens if subsidies are eliminated, but there is much in the pipeline. Corporations are stashing big bucks away for clean energy, and, closer to home, thousands of acres of solar projects are proposed where we live in California's farm-rich central San Joaquin Valley.

But the biggest green job gains, at least in the short term, will likely be through energy efficiency and sustainability. Energy efficiency has holding power as businesses, individuals and local governments discover that a little investment in lighting, power strips and other features leads to a whole lot of money saved.

Check out this link

Meanwhile, sustainability is grabbing a foothold, and is likely to, well, sustain. Some of the world's largest major corporations are taking a strong interest in cutting costs, reducing their carbon footprint and being more environmentally aware. And it pays well; check this out.

Big Business is putting action to words. Speaking of action, the world's ultimate action figures - the Marines (and other military branches)- are right up there with corporate America.

Big Business and the military. They are pretty influential. Add professional sports to that, and you set the stage for some serious change. Those are three powerful forces. Political paralysis may be in place now, but it is just a matter of time until the clean energy/sustainability movement grabs hold.

Photo: Troops deploying a solar blanket