40,000 Clean Energy Jobs
- June 20, 2017
As a response to the announcement that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord., New York’s Governor Cuomo established the Clean Climate Careers initiative. “The Clean Climate Careers initiative is in partnership with the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations’ Worker Institute and Climate Jobs NY. It aims to create 40,000 clean energy jobs by 2020.” The Initiative is made up of three steps that connect clean energy technology investments with high quality paying jobs.
- “Investing in Clean Tech and Supercharging Renewable Energy Development– Investments in renewable energy that will assist in meeting the ambitious Clean Energy Standard target of being 50% renewable by 2030 and as a result New York will double its solar capacity from 800 to 1600 megawatts by the end of 2018.”
- “Creating Clean Climate Careers– $1.5 billion investment in major renewable energy projects which will create thousands of jobs for middle class New Yorkers across the State, while providing funding to train the workforce for lifetime careers in building efficiency, renewable energy, and other low-carbon sectors.”
- “Advancing Environmental Justice– Environmental Justice & Just Transition Working Group will develop priority programs and policies to help low-income residents, communities of color, immigrants, and other vulnerable communities.” “Climate changes affects everyone, but its consequences are particularly devastating for low-income residents,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “We look forward to advising the State on ensuring a ‘just transition’ to a post-fossil fuel economy as it invests in historically-disadvantaged communities and creates family-supporting jobs.”
This is the largest state clean energy procurement in U.S. history. New York will solicit RFPs (Requests for Proposals) from “qualified developers” for new renewable energy projects that are expected to generate 2.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity per year which is approximately enough to power 350,000 homes. Governor Cuomo’s office is expecting the RFP process to develop 60 “large-scale renewable-energy projects” by 2022. NYPA (The New York Power Authority) will double its annual investment in renewables from $150 million to $300 million and install an additional 125 megawatts of solar capacity on public buildings by 2020. In addition, it has established a new partnership with banks which will allow municipalities to access inexpensive capital from commercial banks to finance energy efficiency projects. “Many local governments that are interested in energy efficiency projects and may not have previously qualified for financing will benefit from a more streamlined process and be able to obtain more competitive lending rates.” NYPA will conduct 1,000 renewable energy audits for municipalities and schools to help support the development of investments.
Gil Quiniones, president and CEO of NYPA states, “now is the time for renewable energy. Through this sweeping investment in clean and green energy projects and jobs, we are aggressively moving closer toward Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard and pushing forward as a national leader. Through the largest-ever call for large-scale renewable projects, ramping up our investment in energy efficiency, and expanding use of renewable technologies, including solar, in schools and public buildings, we are spearheading transformative change throughout the industry.” It is also important to note that with the closing of Indian Point Power Plant, New York’s energy mix needs to stay feasible and affordable.
The initiative will invest $15 million in educators and trainers that partner with the clean energy industry to offer training and apprenticeship opportunities which will lead to many high-paying jobs. Funding will be dispersed amongst the most innovative training programs.
Continue reading for input from industry leaders and those affected by this initiative:
- John Samuelson, International President, Transport Workers Union of America, said, “This announcement represents NY seizing the opportunity and responsibility to address the growing crisis of climate change in a way that creates good jobs and begins to reverse inequality. On behalf of our 140,000 members, we commend Governor Cuomo as he shows the nation how to lead the fight on climate and jobs.”
- Christopher Erikson, Business Manager. IBEW Local 3, said, “We need an energy transition to clean energy and we need to do it so we protect the good union jobs of those who construct, operate, and maintain power plants in this country. I commend the Governor’s leadership and this first step towards meeting the needs of climate and workers together and, the IBEW Local 3 is devoting the resources needed to train the next generation of skilled electrical workers for a clean energy future.”
This all sounds great but what’s the catch?
There isn’t really a “catch” per say, but it is very difficult to impose government-supported renewable energy on a market designed in a different era. We can’t just develop new projects and expect the clean power to integrate well with an out of date power grid.
Molongoski, Brian. Daily Courier Observer. Cuomo unveils clean energy jobs program following Paris accord decision. http://www.mpcourier.com/dco/cuomo-unveils-clean-energy-jobs-program-following-paris-accord-decision-20170604. Accessed 2017 June 9.
New York State. Governor Cuomo Announces Major Climate and Jobs Initiative in Partnership with the Worker Institute at Cornell University ILR’s School and Climate Jobs NY to Help Create 40,000 Clean Energy Jobs by 2020. https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-major-climate-and-jobs-initiative-partnership-worker-institute-cornell. Accessed 2017 June 8.
Nonko, Emily. Curbed New York. Governor Cuomo Announces Initiatives Upping New York’s Commitment to Fighting Climate Change. https://ny.curbed.com/2017/6/2/15731924/new-york-climate-change-andrew-cuomo-paris-agreement. Accessed 2017 June 12.
Zeller, Gregory. Innovateli Inside the New Economy. Facing “Reckless” Trump, The Empire State Strikes Back. http://www.innovateli.com/facing-reckless-trump-empire-state-strikes-back/. Accessed 2017 June 9.