Ideas for Clean Energy Job Creation
Today, Steve Lacey at the Center for American Progress published 20 Ideas for Job Creation: Keep Focused on Clean Energy. To build on the many good (or even excellent) ideas in that list (repeated below the fold), here are ideas 21-30 of places to go for Clean Energy Jobs:
- Go to your mortgage broker: Ed Mazria/Architecture 2030?s concept of buying down total mortgages (both commercial and residential) based on investing to improve energy efficiency. Perhaps $200 billion in investment cost over a 3-year period that would generate >$2 trillion in activity in some of the most depressed parts of the economy (construction workers) across essentially all of the country … perhaps in the range of 10 million jobs through those 3 years (and, then, likely many continuing) … and, remember the word investment? Likely that Federal government would recoup more than that $200 billion in costs due to improved tax revenues and reduced social costs (such as reduced unemployment payments). See
- Go to the Laboratory: Robustly funding the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) to the tune of $4 billion / year would support 60,000 jobs in the near term while providing resources to speed the development of technologies that will serve as the underpinning of a 21st century clean energy economy.
- Go to school: America’s public schools are, in some cases all too literally, falling apart. Analyses of maintenance requirements have suggested perhaps more than $250 billion in backlogs for America’s K-12 infrastructure and that backlog is only worsening as school system after school system cuts employees and cuts investment plans to deal with dismal financial books. there are tremendous values associated with greening school space that include improved student health, reduced energy (and other resource bills), reduced pollution loads, improved national capacity for ‘greening’ and ‘energy efficiency’, improved student performance, and substantive job growth. Considering the $250 billion backlog, the dearth of investment today, and the value streams to come from greening schools, a jobs program could fruitfully invest $100 billion in America’s public schools (split between maintenance (& renovation) and greening/energy efficiency). This investment would create easily one million jobs throughout America.
- Go to school on the PHE-Bus: Perhaps more than any road vehicle, school buses are ripe for explosive introduction of plug-in hybrid electric technology. All it requires is a spark of investment and this energy efficient, pollution reducing, health and security improving market place will see explosive growth. $100 million per year would support over 2000 jobs.
- Go to the Cleaners: heating water (or, at times, preheating water) is currently one of the most cost effective paths in terms of energy value per dollar of investment. Laundromats (and other institutional laundries, such as hospitals) are prime places for solar hot water due to the high volume, 365 days a year water usage. And, there a number of solar hot water systems already in place in laundromats (such as this huge one in Chicago (proclaimed as the world’s largest laundromat) and this laundromat/car wash in Jamaica Plains, MA (pdf)). As for the last, due to federal and state incentives, the payback period should be less than five years while ensuring the owner against fluctuating energy prices.
- Go to the Market: Grocery stores, nationwide, are ripe for cleaning up with Clean Energy Jobs. Not only are the requirements clear, the solutions are straightforward, the financial return is tremendous, and this has the potential for kickstarting some jobs quickly while enabling stores to make more profits even while giving them the opportunity (which we can hope they’ll seize) to pass on some of the savings to their customers. $4 billion year would create 80,000 jobs.
- Go Swimming for Jobs: The nation’s swimming pools are notorious energy hogs and ripe for efficiency investment — in better pumps, solar hot water, etc … Looking solely to public pools, which eat up community resources, $300 million per year could create some 10,000 jobs while providing payback periods for local communities and public institutions (universities) of five years or less reducing costs while enhancing the community building resource of public pools.
- Go to the train station: Electrification of rail would cut U.S. oil demand, with improved intermodal transit, by some 2.5 million barrels per day after a ten-year program. That, at today’s prices, would reduce America’s trade deficit by over $90 billion dollars — per year. To achieve this program would require roughly $10 billion, per year, in public investment to spark private funding. The electrification program would foster roughly 400,000 jobs
- Go to the local park: Greening cities improves urban habitability and reduces pollution loads (including strain on the water systems with storm runoff). And, someone has to plant those flowers and trim those trees. $10 billion per year would foster over 200,000 jobs, with many of these in very high unemployment areas.
- Invest in infrastructure: The nation’s infrastructure (roads, bridges, buildings, sewers, …) is, politely, failing apart. The American Society of Civil Engineers sees a $1 trillion+ shortfall between required resources and what is budgeted (and those budgets for repairs/modernization are being cut, not expanded). Addressing these shortfalls and modernizing our infrastructure won’t come cheap, but not addressing the shortfalls will carry a much (MUCH) higher price. Putting in $2 trillion, over a decade, to repair and modernize public infrastructure would support over 5 million jobs while enabling a functioning society. (Double the resources and we now have a clean-energy system powering that society.)
These ten are examples of ways to create large numbers of Clean Energy Jobs while fostering a more prosperous and climate-friendly society.
Note that these paths, which in aggregate would put over 10 million Americans back to work, likely would not represent a “cost to bear” but “an investment to profit from” as the improved infrastructure would ease economic activity, the employed people would pay taxes, and so on …
These are, of course, just ten added to the CAP list. In addition to links above, see JOB! JOBS! JOBS! for a generalized discussion (with some more specific examples) of the power of clean-energy and climate-mitigation focused job creation paths for strengthening the economy while addressing our climate challenges.
1. Upgrade our nation’s roads, bridges, and other basic infrastructure: 18,000 new jobs for every $1 billion invested.
2. Launch a rehab-to-rent program to turn tens of thousands of government-owned foreclosed homes into affordable rental housing, stabilize neighborhoods, and put construction workers back on the job: 20,000 new jobs a year.
3. Implement new EPA rules governing toxic emissions from power plants: 40,000 new direct jobs.
4. Protect health care reform, which will reduce health insurance premiums, expand coverage, and create jobs: 250,000 to 400,000 new jobs a year for the next decade.
5. Retrofit for energy efficiency just 40 percent of the nation’s residential and commercial building stock and unleash massive demand for domestic labor: more than 625,000 new jobs over a decade.
6. Extend emergency unemployment benefits to long-term unemployed workers hurt by the economic downturn: more than 700,000 jobs.
7. Expand the payroll tax cut for employees and extend it to employers through 2012: more than 1 million jobs.
8. Extend national service programs to provide young people with full-time positions in AmeriCorps, VISTA, YouthBuild, and the youth service and conservation corps: 60,000 new jobs.
9. Pass Home Star, Building Star, and Rural Star legislation to make homes and buildings energy efficient while supporting the hard-hit construction industry: 250,000 new jobs a year.
12. Protect funding for community health centers over the next five years to provide health and related services at clinics and in the local business communities: 300,000 new jobs.
13. Protect the National Park Service from budget cuts, corporate interests, and antigovernment rhetoric to support jobs in outdoor recreation across the country: 247,000 jobs.
14. Increase freight rail capital investment: 7,800 direct and indirect jobs for every $1 billion invested.
15. Create a $10 billion trial-employment program with potential to help an estimated 1 million small businesses and startups hire long-term unemployed workers: 2 million new job opportunities.
17. Expand the federal “jobs accelerator” program: Just $200 million in funding could result in 1,800 new businesses employing thousands of workers.
18. Reject a federal proposal to mandate employer use of the E-Verify eligibility verification system and protect 770,000 American jobs.
19. Revamp small-business financial assistance programs to better serve the needs of innovative, high-growth potential startup firms.
20. Create a “common application” for federal programs that foster the growth of small businesses.
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