Photo via Ning
We talk a lot about the growing economic importance of the clean energy sector, the employment opportunities it will provide, etc--hell, so does pretty much everyone these days. But there still seems to be a bit of a perceived disconnect between the concept of clean energy jobs or green jobs and their actual existence: they seem like something that perpetually linger on the horizon, like hydrogen fuel cell cars. But believe you me, clean energy jobs are here right now, and they're employing people and rejuvenating industry in cities across the US. Which ones? So glad you asked. These are the top 5 . . .
The Top 5 Cities for Clean Energy Jobs
According to a post over at Climate Progress, these 5 cities employ the most people in clean energy sectors, are growing the fastest, and seeing the most investment in green technologies.
And they are, according to CAP:
1. San Francisco
We've all long known SF is a leader in cleantech and green policy. From CP:
California leads the nation in clean-energy jobs with roughly 125,000--and San Francisco is a big source for these jobs. The Clean Edge report identifies the Bay Area as the number one metro area for clean technology job activity, and San Francisco recently passed $100 million in revenue bonds to support renewable energy projects. More than 50 percent of the city's commuters travel on public transportation and 20 big construction projects have recently applied for LEED certification.
Boston may not strike some as the one best places for clean jobs in the nation at first glance. But look closer:
it has the highest concentration of colleges and universities of any metropolitan area in the world. Boston ... ranks fourth in the Clean Edge survey of 15 top U.S. metro areas for clean-tech job creation. And two big sources of green construction and engineering jobs in Boston are wind power--it's the city's third-largest fuel source--and the fact that new buildings have to be constructed to meet LEED certification standards.
De-what? Yes, a load of new cleantech investment is transforming the long-blighted urban area. From CP:
Department of Energy green technology grants to fund factories and create green jobs will tap into the Motor City's skilled automotive workforce to bring hybrid and electric technology to the forefront of the American auto industry. Michigan had already created more than 22,000 clean-tech jobs by 2007, and the new federal grants will make those numbers grow. Automotive companies not based in Detroit have recently opened hubs in the city, and a mechanical engineer working on plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles in Detroit can expect to make $63,600 median pay with a bachelor's degree
Another green city stalwart, this one's not exactly a surprise.
with more than 20,000 clean-energy jobs created in 2007 alone--the most in the nation--it's clear that sustainable Portland is the place to be. The city gets half of its power from renewable energy sources, 35 percent of its buildings have been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and a quarter of the workforce commutes to work by bike, carpool, or public transportation. The city's $50 million "Grey to Green" initiative, which began in July 2008, aims to add 43 acres of ecoroofs, plant 33,000 yard trees and 50,000 street trees, and restore native vegetation while halting the spread of invasive plants to better manage stormwater--all of which will help create a green-collar workforce for Portland's already green economy.
5. New York City
In a city where 80% of people take public transit, there should be ample opportunities for clean jobs. And indeed, it's the case. Green jobs programs like
"Growing Green Collar Jobs," a collaboration between 50 community, labor, and private sector groups in New York City, supports organizations such as Sustainable South Bronx, which has worked since 2001 to move South Bronx residents from welfare to green-collar jobs through education, outreach, and programs like "Greening the Ghetto."And Mayor Bloomberg has launched over 100 initiatives designed to increase efficiency, including a program to retrofit the city's older buildings.
Read the full report on the top 5 cities for clean energy jobs over at Climate Progress.