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Archive for the ‘Green Collar Jobs’ Category

JENNIFER DART, Westerly News, June 3, 2010

Several groups working on wave energy on the British Columbia coast gathered in Ucluelet this week to discuss developments in the industry and update local projects.

Representatives from the non-profit Ocean Renewable Energy Group (OREG) chaired the community open house, held June 1 at the Ucluelet Community Centre.

Also in attendance were academics, developers, and representatives from all levels of government, including the Yuu-cluth-aht First Nation and the District of Ucluelet.

OREG executive director Chris Campbell said developing the technology to harness energy from the ocean is a “long, slow process,” but Canadian companies are active internationally, “so it’s gradually becoming more and more real.”

The Ucluelet/Tofino area has long been considered an ideal site for an ocean renewable energy project given its coastal location and proximity to the BC Hydro grid.

“Ocean renewable energy is something that’s been making rattling noises for quite a few years in our area,” said Ucluelet mayor Eric Russcher. “It would be a new and different world we live in but an exciting prospect for us all.”

According to information from OREG, preliminary studies indicate the wave energy potential off Canada’s Pacific Coast is equal to approximately half of Canada’s electricity consumption.

There seems to be a new energy behind wave power in recent months, given in part to new advances in technology, and also specifically in B.C. because of the Liberal government’s Clean Energy Act, which has been tabled in the legislature but has yet to be passed.

Jeff Turner from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources said the Act is meant to achieve energy efficiency while maintaining low rates, generate employment in the clean energy sector, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While critics of the Act say it gives the province oversight on major projects like the Site C dam on the Peace River and could be mean higher hydro rates, the announcement has helped kick start development in areas like wave energy, where researchers are currently focused on pinpointing potential outputs.

Two wave energy projects are in development on the West Coast; one for the waters off Ucluelet and one in close proximity to the Hesquiaht communities at Hesquiaht Harbour and Hot Springs Cove.

John Gunton of SyncWave Systems Inc. presented his company’s plan for the SyncWave Power Resonator, a buoy class device that would be slack moored in depths of up to 200 metres. Simply put, this device captures energy from the upward and downward motion of the wave. Gunton said the company has provincial and federal funding, but is looking for a $3 million investment to complete its first two phases of development for placement near Hesquiaht Point.

A test resonator placed eight kilometres off Ucluelet in 40 metres of waters in December was collecting data for a period of about one month until a mast on it was destroyed. It was repaired, upgraded and redeployed in late April and a website will be set up by a group called the West Coast Wave Collaboration that is comprised of academics and industry representatives to transmit power data. Local partners in this project include the Ucluth Development Corporation, the District of Ucluelet and Black Rock Resort.

The other technology is a near shore device, placed in depths of 35 to 50 metres. The CETO device is owned by Carnegie Wave Energy of Australia, and was presented by David King at the open house. Seven metre cylinders capture wave energy and pump it to an onshore turbine. A government grant will also assist in the development of this technology.

But Jessica McIvoy of OREG said there are many questions left to be answered including what are the impacts on the ocean environment and sea life of such devices, and in turn how will the devices last in the ocean?

Campbell said an adaptive management approach to the technology seems like the best option to proceed with preliminary work, taking into account “critical indicators” in the natural environment.

Yuu-cluth-aht chief councillor Vi Mundy said she’s interested in these indicators after hearing concerns from her community, from fishers for example: “I’m hearing questions like what kind of impact will there be and what kind of standards have been developed so far [in the wave energy industry].”

But she also noted young people in her community are asking for green development that will provide year round employment.

“It’s really good to see that in young people,” Mundy said.

Anyone with questions about wave technology on the coast is invited to contact OREG at questions@oreg.ca.

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Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, July 26, 2009

Ken SalazarJust north of the Colorado-New Mexico border, in the sunny expanses of my native San Luis Valley, America’s clean energy future is taking root.

Under President Obama’s leadership, four tracts of land in southern Colorado and two dozen tracts across six Western states may soon be supplying American homes with clean, renewable electricity from the first large-scale solar power projects on our nation’s public lands.

The 24 Solar Energy Study Areas that Interior is evaluating for environmentally appropriate solar energy development could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity, enough to power more than 29 million American homes.

The West’s vast solar energy potential – along with wind, geothermal and other renewables – can power our economy with affordable energy, create thousands of new jobs and reduce the carbon emissions that are warming our planet.

As President Obama has said, we can remain the world’s largest importer of oil or we can become the world’s largest exporter of clean energy. The choice is clear, and the economic opportunities too great to miss. Will we rise to the challenge?

It is time that Washington step up to the plate, just as states like Colorado and local governments are already doing. Congress must pass strong and effective legislation that will steer our nation toward a clean energy economy that creates new jobs and improves our energy security.

We will not fully unleash the potential of the clean energy economy unless Congress puts an upper limit on the emissions of heat-trapping gases that are damaging our environment. Doing so will level the playing field for new technologies by allowing the market to put a price on carbon, and will trigger massive investment in renewable energy projects across the country.

We are also seeing the dangerous consequences of climate change: longer and hotter fire seasons, reduced snow packs, rising sea levels and declines of wildlife. Farmers, ranchers, municipalities and other water users in Colorado and across the West are facing the possibility of a grim future in which there is less water to go around.

But with comprehensive clean energy legislation from Congress, sound policies and wise management of our nation’s lands and oceans, we can change the equation.

That is why I am changing how the federal government does business on the 20% of the nation’s land mass and 1.75 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf that we oversee. We are now managing these lands not just for balanced oil, natural gas, and coal development, but also – for the first time ever – to allow environmentally responsible renewable energy projects that can help power President Obama’s vision for our clean energy future.

American business is responding to these new opportunities. Companies are investing in wind farms off the Atlantic seacoast, solar facilities in the Southwest and geothermal energy projects throughout the West. We need comprehensive legislation that will create new jobs, promote investment in a new generation of energy technology, break our dependence on foreign oil, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Let us rise to the energy challenges of our time.

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MendoCoastCurrent, January 8, 2009

obama-hope1Key President-elect Barack Obama renewable energy quotes from his January 8, 2009 speech to the U.S. Congress and citizens, on his top economic priorities as he takes office.

“. . .the first question that each of us asks isn’t ‘what’s good for me?’ but ‘what’s good for the country my children will inherit?”

On creating new jobs and investing in America’s future:

“This plan must begin today. A plan I’m confident will save and create at least three million jobs over the next few years.”

The American Recovery & Reinvestment Program:

“It’s not just a public works program. It’s a plan that recognizes both the paradox and promise of the moment. The fact that there are millions of Americans trying to find work, even as all around the country there’s so much work to be done and that’s why we’ll invest in priorities like energy and education, healthcare and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century. That’s why the overwhelming majority of the jobs created will be in the private sector while our plan will save public sector jobs . . .”

“To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will modernize more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills.”

“In the process, we will put Americans to work in jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced. Jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, constructing fuel efficient cars and buildings, and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.”

“The time has come to build a 21st century economy in which hard work and responsibility are once again rewarded.”

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LORRAINE WOELLERT, Bloomberg, December 2, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama is considering a stimulus package that will include a heavy dose of spending on environmentally friendly projects aimed at creating “green-collar jobs” and saving energy.

While the package will focus on short-term outlays for traditional infrastructure projects to jumpstart an economy now officially declared to be in recession, it will also include longer-term measures to safeguard the environment.

“Clean energy is going to be a foundation for rebuilding the American economy,” said Bracken Hendricks, an analyst at the Democratic-leaning Center for American Progress and an adviser to the presidential-transition team. Generating jobs in concert with cutting pollution will be “a major component” of any economic-recovery plan, Hendricks said.

Obama wants to enact a recovery plan soon after his inauguration. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters today that any proposal would have to be “robust” and include at least $400 billion in spending, though he wouldn’t rule out a bigger package. Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois, Obama’s closest Senate ally, and Charles Schumer of New York argue that an infusion of as much as $700 billion is warranted.

Reid said a green jobs component could be worth as much as $100 billion. He has endorsed investment in improved electricity transmission infrastructure and other ideas being put forth by Obama advisers.

‘Green Path’ Infrastructure

Obama adviser Jared Bernstein and other economists say that money would help fund environmentally sound infrastructure projects that could be up and running within a few months. Among the steps along the “green path,” Bernstein said, might be a requirement that repairs made to public buildings be environmentally friendly.

“Almost any major infrastructure project is going to be done in the greenest way possible,” said Alice Rivlin, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve who has spoken with members of the transition team about the package. “There will be spending for quick-starting infrastructure as well as for larger, better-thought-out programs over several years.”

A critical mass of support for clean-energy spending and green-collar-job creation is building among environmentalists, labor groups, local governments and companies such as Google Inc. and American Electric Power Co., the biggest U.S. producer of electricity from coal.

Creating Jobs

The loosely knit coalition is advocating for what Hendricks calls a “green recovery” stimulus that would create jobs with an eye toward conserving resources and reducing reliance on fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

School repairs, for example, could be required to meet green building standards, including low-energy boilers and weatherization. Transportation spending could emphasize public transit, and support for new power sources such as wind and energy could go hand in hand with spending on an efficient electricity superhighway.

Ideas include $2 billion in spending on public transit to reduce fares and expand service, $5 billion in renewable-energy bonds for consumer-owned utilities, $2.5 billion to buy and scrap old polluting cars, and $900 million to help weatherize one million homes.

‘Smart Grid’

Google is among the companies lobbying for long-term tax rebates for renewable energy as well as federal investment in electric “smart grid” technology that promises to lower energy use by creating two-way communication between energy providers and consumers.

Both provisions would create high-technology jobs, said Harry Wingo, energy policy counsel for Google, which has been meeting with Obama advisers and Capitol Hill lawmakers.

Green-jobs provisions “are going to lead to more job creation here and put us in a better spot to compete for the global market in clean energy,” Wingo said.

Other ideas include regulatory changes that could lead to less energy use and electricity-infrastructure improvements, said Susan Tomasky, president of AEP Transmission in Toledo.

The idea is to build new and better transmission lines to link the sunniest and windiest regions to the national grid.

AEP is among companies pushing for stimulus language that would make it easier to finance and site electricity infrastructure. It also wants Obama to formalize his campaign’s embrace of “an interstate highway system for transmission.”

Delivery Systems

“Obama gets that you can’t just build windmills and wish for the power to get where it needs to go,” Tomasky said. “It is all about infrastructure.”

Some groups are sounding a cautionary note. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy embraced the notion of creating jobs in renewable energy industries while warning against government overreaching.

“Whenever government tries to pick winners and losers, whether through burdensome regulations, central planning, or open-ended subsidies, it fails and taxpayers and consumers pay the price,” the institute said in a Nov. 17 report.

The conservative Heritage Foundation has criticized the green-jobs concept as big-government spending that would do little to stimulate growth.

‘Crisis du Jour’

“The people who have wanted these green initiatives are wrapping them up in the crisis du jour, the stimulus,” said David Kreutzer, a senior policy analyst at Heritage in Washington. “You have to pull resources out of some other part of the economy for government to spend it on green jobs. You don’t get a net job increase.”

Nonetheless, businesses are lining up behind the idea. In addition to big power consumers such as Google and utilities such as AEP, venture capitalists such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers support the green jobs concept and are lobbying for green provisions to be included in the stimulus.

“There’s a clear majority who want to do this,” said Michael Eckhart, president of the American Council On Renewable Energy, a Washington-based group of business leaders, academics and venture capitalists.

Even the simplest ideas could save energy and create jobs, said Jason Saragian, a spokesman for Owens Corning Inc., a Toledo, Ohio-based maker of insulation as well as material used in wind turbine blades. The company is pushing for tax breaks to encourage retrofitting of older buildings.

‘Huge Opportunity’

“There are 80 million underinsulated homes in the United States,” Saragian said. Buildings emit 42% of the nation’s greenhouse gasses. Weatherization “is a huge opportunity” to cut energy use, Saragian said.

State and city leaders are also making a pitch. Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, chairman of the National Governors Association, said a stimulus should consist of increased spending on programs such as unemployment compensation, federal aid to states, and infrastructure for renewable energy. “There are upwards of $136 billion worth of projects ready to go,” Rendell told reporters.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has its own list of some $25 billion worth of infrastructure projects that could be completed in 2009.

“The challenge is to make a green stimulus actually green,” said Dan Becker, a consultant with the Safe Climate Campaign, a Washington-based clean-air advocacy group. “The more road building you have the blacker it gets.”

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