The Glass is More than Half Full: Impact of Clean Technology on Job Creation

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When a form of technology becomes outdated, jobs in that industry are inevitably lost. However, this is only one side of the coin, as jobs are often created in the exact same way and, the good news is, that these jobs require previously unconsidered skill sets. It almost goes without saying that with the shift toward clean energy usage, the onus is on the clean technology sector to create green jobs.

In the down-spinning economy, clean technology has been a rock. In fact, clean technology continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. Worldwide, investments in clean technology grew 12 percent in the Q3 of 2011, even as other sectors were tanking around the world. This growth started a few years back and continues to hold strong. In fact, in 2007, the clean technology industry in the United States grew three times as fast as the country’s economy.

Of course, there are stories of failure in the clean technology segment – such as the recent demise of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra – but there are also stories of success. Consider Noveda Technologies, whose real-time, online energy monitoring technology allows users get a better understanding of both their building’s impact on the environment and how they might improve it. Oh, and they can actually see their carbon footprint reduction and utility bill savings – right before their very eyes.

With all this being said, there is no question that clean technology would get even more of a push from the federal government if more consistent clean energy requirements were enacted. In this sense President Barack Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative, which rewards the use of non-traditional energy sources, is a step in the right direction. But more such guidelines need to be brought forth.

Part of the problem is that when legislation that limits the use of old energies comes into play, the loss of jobs that inevitably occurs gets foregrounded by pundits. For example, when President Obama unveiled his sorely needed energy policy in February 2011, CNN talking heads opined that biofuels have been a “colossal failure.” The news network also focused on the bankruptcy of Solyndra as a symbolic example of what happens when people invest in clean energy.

It’s time we focus on the companies that are putting people back to work in industries that benefit every person on this planet. There will always be naysayers to seek out and discuss the “wrongs” of the world.

What if we shifted our focus to the benefits new industries are having on the economy and the world at large? Up and comers with new ideas regarding clean technology are thriving under these conditions. New industries are created in this way. Let’s be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Article by Bari Faye Siegel, a technology writer and marketing consultant at Noveda Technologies, an innovative leader in real-time, web-based energy management, solar PV monitoring and water management. Noveda also offers real-time collaboration tools that leverage social media to educate and empower stakeholder communities and make the smart grid a reality today. For more information, visit www.noveda.com.

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About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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