Clean Edge Offers the Truth About Green Jobs

With staggering unemployment rates all over the world, politicians and displaced employees have set their eyes on the Clean Tech industry as a way back to jobs and economic growth. The big question being, of course: Will it deliver?

The questions for job seekers don’t end there.  They want to know if the renewable energy industry will actually create more jobs than have been lost.  If so, where and in what industries?  And at what average salary?  What education level will be necessary to get these jobs?

In an attempt to answer these questions and many more, Clean Edge has released its second annual Clean Tech Job Trends 2010 (available for download at this link).  In its report, Clean Edge examines the top job-creating clean tech industry sectors, cities and employers, providing insights into which industry sectors are prime for job growth and development and which are no more than green-washing or -wishing as the case may be.

The top 15 prime areas of the U.S. where clean tech job postings proliferate are also outlined in the report.  The greater Boston area, where is based is number 3 — up from number 4 last year.

The report lists 5 key trends to watch in the clean-tech jobs landscape, citing a developing clean-tech manufacturing hub in Mexico, feed-in tariffs, the auto industry (particularly electric vehicles), energy efficiency and the emerging offshore wind industry as geographical areas, policies and sectors that are currently steering the industry toward more jobs.

In addition to the 5 key trends to watch, the report also outlines what the authors believe are 5 key job-creating policies, of which the U.S. has very few, if any.  These include a robust renewable portfolio standard “with teeth” as the authors state; a tax on carbon; strong efficiency, fuel and emissions standards; green banks, bonds and funds and robust green infrastructure development.

The report also highlights the key role that China is now playing in our collective clean-energy future, and includes a table highlighting some of the significant disparities between the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China, and their clean-tech initiatives.

“China has risen from clean-energy neophyte to global clean-energy powerhouse over the past five years,” says Ron Pernick, cofounder and managing director of Clean Edge. “China is now home to six of the top 10 global clean-tech pure-play employers, up from just three a year earlier. China has become the country to watch, analyze, and, at times, emulate. Ignoring China’s clean-tech ambitions and activities puts one’s own clean-tech initiatives at great peril.”

Lastly, there is a detailed clean-tech job compensation overview showing what certain careers pull for salaries, which would be very useful for recent grads or anyone else thinking about starting a career in clean energy.

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at

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