Renewable Energy Makes Jobs

Renewable Energy Makes Jobs

University of Tennessee report lays out billions in economic benefits including millions of jobs from 25x'25 renewable energy plan.

With the United States on a path to achieving the 25x'25 clean energy goal, an estimated 1.4 million new jobs would be created by 2015, 2.9 million jobs by 2020, and 4.7 million by 2025, according to a University of Tennessee study. Released recently by the 25x'25 Alliance, 25% Renewable Energy for the United States by 2025: An Analysis on Jobs Created By Meeting this Goal shows that the jobs will be created by annual economic growth in the renewable energy sector, reaching $208 billion by 2015, $411 billion in 2020, and $646 billion by 2025.

"The report underscores the need for appropriate public policy support and funding to maximize the economic benefits that come from our nation's vast sustainable resources and achieving a clean, 25x'25 renewable energy future," says Read Smith, co-chairman of the National 25x'25 Steering Committee.

The 25x'25 Vision calls for America's farms, ranches and forestlands to meet 25 percent of the nation's energy needs with renewable resources – biomass, wind energy, solar power, thermal energy and hydropower – while continuing to produce safe, abundant and affordable food, feed and fiber.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee's Bio-based Energy Analysis Group say that pursuing the 25x'25 goal generates economic activity that creates millions of new jobs over the next 15 years by growing and collecting and harvesting renewable energy feedstocks; harnessing the sun, wind, water, and heat from the earth; purchasing inputs; adding value to those inputs and supplying the energy produced. The jobs would be widespread throughout the United States, with rural areas benefitting due to renewable energy-related economic activity.

While all states are poised to gain jobs from the development of renewable energy, some of the biggest include Missouri (240,800), Illinois (201,000), Iowa (196,300), Nebraska (161,500), Texas (159,000), Tennessee (155,700), Kentucky (148,500), Kansas (125,200), Minnesota (124,600), Oklahoma (122,500), Arkansas (109,200), Indiana (106,400), Virginia (85,000), Mississippi (84,500), and West Virginia (75,800).

Furthermore, the total addition to net farm income could reach $180 billion by 2025, as the market rewards growers for producing alternative energy and enhancing our national security. In 2025 alone, net farm income would increase by $37 billion, when compared with USDA baseline extended projections.

Researchers say the production of 15.45 quads of energy from biomass could replace the growing demand for gasoline, natural gas, diesel, and/or coal generated electricity. In addition, nearly 7 quads of electricity could be generated from solar and wind resources under the 25x'25 scenario.

Contributions from America's farms, forests and ranches could result in the production of 87.2 billion gallons of biofuels annually, which has the potential to decrease gasoline consumption by 59 billion gallons (based on Btu content) in 2025, the study shows.

A breakdown of potential energy generation from renewable sources shows Texas would lead the way with an additional 1.27 quads of energy. Other states that increase renewable energy by more than 0.5 quads include Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Montana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

"This report makes clear – and should make clear to policy makers – that these renewable energy resources and a 25x'25 clean energy future offer the nation a triple bottom line of energy security, environmental benefits and economic recovery," says Smith.

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