According to the newly released Clean Tech Job Trends 2009 report issued by research firm Clean Edge, energy efficiency provides the most bang (i.e., jobs) for your buck. The report attributes stimulus dollars and increased recognition by companies, utilities, and governments that energy efficiency is a cost effective method for dealing with volatile energy prices in helping drive the job growth. Efficiency is referred to as the fifth fuel after coal, natural gas, nuclear, and renewables.
The report cites statistics from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI)—an independent unit of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst—indicating that building retrofits related to energy efficiency create seven direct jobs per million dollars invested. For comparison purposes, wind and solar create 4.3 and 5.4 direct jobs, respectively, per million dollars. According to the PERI researchers, investments in clean energy will generate roughly three times more jobs than spending the same amount of money within our fossil fuel energy infrastructure.
Clean Edge identifies key sectors in which clean-tech jobs are now emerging including energy, transportation, water, and (building) materials. It also identifies the top 15 U.S. metro areas for clean-tech job activity with San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA coming in at the top.
On October 19, Vice President Biden unveiled Recovery Through Retrofit, a report detailing the results of a multi-agency initiative to examine how best to create a self-sustaining home energy efficiency retrofit industry. The report identifies a series of barriers including a lack of access to information, financing, and skilled workers.