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Pierre Bull’s Blog

On the Edge of the U.S. Clean Jobs Cliff

Pierre Bull

Posted November 9, 2012 in Green Enterprise, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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E2 CEJ Q3 report imageEnvironmental Entrepreneurs latest Clean Energy Jobs quarterly report, Q3 2012, shows us that clean energy jobs – like jobs in the rest of the economy – are still growing. But at least in clean energy, that growth looks like it’s slowing – not because of demand or because of businesses’ lack of ability to deliver – but because of politics and inaction by the U.S. Congress. Pure and simple.

Specifically, E2 tracked announcements that would create 10,800 jobs in the Q3. That’s good, but it’s just a quarter of the number of clean energy job announcements witnessed in Q1.

The biggest hit, of course has been to the wind industry. In Q3 we saw wind manufacturing job announcements drop to zero – zero – after years of growth. 

wind mfg jobs dropoff

Why has this happened? We can only point to uncertainty in marketplace – uncertainty in the wind industry over the PTC, and uncertainty in the clean energy sector overall because of Congressional inaction.

Policy matters. And when good policies come under attack, or aren’t continued when they should be continued, it hurts American companies, it hurts American workers and their families – and it hurts America’s competitiveness on the global marketplace.

Source: AWEA. Historic Impact of PTC expiration on U.S. wind installation

Source: AWEA. For the fourth time in less than 13 years, the U.S. wind industry meets the edge of a jobs cliff without long-term stable policy support.

Jacob Susman, founder and CEO of OwnEnergy, Inc, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based wind farm developer had this to say about the looming PTC expiration:

"It's hard to expand your business and create new jobs with this much political uncertainty affecting the wind industry. The election is now over, and the political posturing needs to end. Congress should give businesses like mine the certainty we need to grow, by passing the Senate Finance Committee's version of the PTC in the upcoming tax extenders package that will let us all get back to work."

Despite "lame duck" label, Congress will reconvene next Tuesday with the opportunity to do something that is not lame and take action to continue supporting tens of thousands of U.S. jobs all across America. You can take action by telling Congress to extend the wind PTC.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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