In case you hadn’t noticed, the clean energy community in Massachusetts is having a great week. The Bay State is widely recognized as a national clean energy leader and three items this week underscore why that is. While each of these got some news here and there, it’s worth pulling all three together to demonstrate the state’s envious position in clean energy.
1. New Study Finds 64,000+ Clean Energy Workers in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center released its 2011 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report on Wednesday at an event featuring Governor Deval Patrick. The report is impressive in its depth and rigor, and its findings show that the clean energy economy in Massachusetts is significant and growing quickly. Here are the high-level conclusions:
- THIS REPORT FINDS THAT MASSACHUSETTS HASA ROBUST CLEAN ENERGY CLUSTER WITH 4,909 CLEAN ENERGY FIRMS EMPLOYING 64,310 CLEAN ENERGY WORKERS.
- THE MORE THAN 64,000 CLEAN ENERGY WORKERS IN MASSACHUSETTS REPRESENT 1.5 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL EMPLOYMENT IN THE COMMONWEALTH
- FROM JULY 2010 TO JULY 2011, CLEAN ENERGY EMPLOYMENT GREW BY 6.7 PERCENT, MUCH FASTER THAN THE OVERALL 1 PERCENT GROWTH RATE AMONG ALL INDUSTRIES IN THE COMMONWEALTH.
As I wrote earlier this week, what this analysis underscores is just how significantly the energy sector undergirds the rest of the economy. Energy quite literally powers the economy, so it’s no surprise that we’d find it touches an impressive number of businesses and workers. When we talk about moving to clean energy, we truly are talking about economic transformation.
2. Massachusetts Ranks #1 in Energy Efficiency
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy issued its annual State Energy Efficiency scorecard on Thursday and, sure enough, Massachusetts was #1! The scorecard assesses a state’s programs and policies across a number of key areas and then ranks based on a 50 point scale. Not that anyone’s counting, but Massachusetts unseated last year’s #1, California, to take the top spot.
3. Boston is Ranked #1 Most Innovative City in the World
2thinknow, a private firm that tracks innovation, has released its Top 100 Innovation Cities and Boston tops that list. From their press release:
"In 2011, the analysts stated that Boston’s dominant institutions Harvard and MIT, business, and strengthening start-up and arts network kept the city number one overall globally."
Silicon Valley ranked #2. Read more about the criteria here. Of course, Boston is just one piece of Massachusetts, but it’s a testament to the state’s innovative capacities that it is home to a first tier innovation city.
Each of these items on its own is a nice news story, but taken together they’re a reminder of the broader truth that Massachusetts is at the forefront of clean energy. The industry is growing strongly, has deep specialties in areas like energy efficiency, smart grid, and offshore wind, and has world class innovation capacities in-and-around Boston.
As MassCEC Executive Director Patrick Cloney has written, Massachusetts has the right recipe for innovation. (I should note that the rest of New England is surging as well, including in energy efficiency.) All in all, it’s been a good week for clean energy in Massachusetts. But the beauty of a growing industry is that next week could easily be better.
I'm Communications Manager at the New England Clean Energy Council in Boston, I write about technology for The Atlantic and some other online outlets, and I was previously with the U.S. Green Building Council.
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