On June 2, 2014, the EPA, under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, proposed an initial guideline to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants. A sustainable workforce boom is perhaps on the horizon. Here are the top 5 job sectors that are expected to benefit the most from the proposed plan.
- Construction workers.
The EPA projects natural gas to account for 32% of our power by 2030. The construction sector could gain a total of 62,500 jobs from the construction of new natural gas plants alone. This is without counting in the hundreds of thousands of construction jobs that will be required to upgrade our electric grid and build new transmission lines.
- Solar panels
In 2011, the solar industry employed over 100,000 workers, with an expected growth rate of 27,000 net new solar manufacturing jobs the next year, and this was before the EPA proposed the carbon cut rule.
- Wind turbine equipment
Domestically manufactured equipment used in wind turbines 70% in 2011 with 560 factories directly employing 75,000 full-time employees. This number can be expected to grow substantially.
If the US utilize just 6-15% of our untapped hydropower resources, the total amount of jobs required to meet that target could generate as many as 700,000 jobs.
Geothermal energy provides more jobs on a per megawatt basis than natural gas. Approximately 248,672,710 acres of public lands in the Western US are areas of identified geothermal potential and a single geothermal plant generates about 860 jobs. You do the math.
- Solar installation & sales
Sales and distribution employed about 23,910 people in 2012 and installation employed 65,571 people. With respective growth rates of 22% and 35% that’s an additional 5,260 and 22,950 jobs!
- Workforce training providers
People need to be trained on how to make, install and maintain a solar panel, or build green buildings. This educational workforce can expect to grow in parallel with the demand for sustainably qualified workforce.
Every renewable project will necessitate a variety of engineers; electrical, civil, information technology, systems management, waste management, simulation modelling, operations, structural, energy analysis and the list goes on and on. These engineers will all need to design specific solutions for the wave of new clients that will be generated by this clean power plan.