Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Report Finds California's Green Jobs Grew By 36% From 1995 To 2008

A new report has found that green jobs in the state of California grew 36 percent between 1995 and 2008, while total jobs in the state grew by only 13 percent. The report, Many Shades of Green: Diversity and Distribution of California’s Green Jobs, was just released by Next 10 and Collaborative Economics.

Other highlights from the report:

•Between 1995-2008, green businesses in California increased 45 percent

• Even in rural areas with a smaller economic base, green jobs are growing faster than the overall economy.

• Between 2007-2008, green jobs grew 5 percent while total jobs dropped one percent.

• Manufacturing represents 21 percent of all green jobs, and grew 19 percent, while manufacturing represents only 11 percent of all jobs in California (January 2008.)

• Half of all manufacturing jobs are split between Energy Efficiency and Energy Generation.

• Services accounted for 45 percent of all California green jobs, the largest portion in Environmental Consulting.

• With nearly 43,000 jobs in 2008, Air & Environment is the largest of California’s green segments. While this segment’s jobs remained steady, hovering around 35,000 from 1995-2005, since 2005 the number of green jobs in this segment has increased 24 percent.

• From 1995-2008, Energy Generation employment expanded 61 percent by nearly 10,000 jobs. Solar makes up the largest portion, and strongest growth (63 percent).

• Employment in Energy Efficiency increased 63 percent from 1995-2008.

• Employment in Green Transportation has increased 152 percent since 1995. Green Transportation Jobs are primarily in Motor Vehicles & Equipment and Alternative Fuels, with the latter growing faster at 201 percent, and representing 48 percent of all jobs in this segment.

• Green Logistics is an emerging field, only in the Bay Area at present, with employment growing by 1144 percent since 1995.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Energy Efficiency Could Create Up To 900,000 Jobs

Energy efficiency measures could create hundreds of thousands of new green jobs by the year 2020, according to a new report published by McKinsey & Company. The report, Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy, is now available for free viewing online.

According to the report, a comprehensive effort to improve energy efficiency in the U.S. could:

  • Save the nation more than $1.2 trillion by 2020
  • Help stop global warming by abating up to 1.1 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions per year
  • Create 600,000 to 900,000 jobs by 2020





Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stopping Global Warming for the Cost of A Postage Stamp A Day

The cost of reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and creating a clean energy economy could come to as little 22 cents a day for American households, according to top Obama administration officials. The comments came as Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified in support of federal climate change legislation before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on Tuesday. Last month, the House of Representatives voted to pass The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, or “ACES”. Now it is the Senate’s turn to come its own version of the bill. 

“Opponents of this effort claim the nation cannot afford to act at this time. I disagree, and so do the Environmental Protection Agency and the Congressional Budget Office,” Chu testified. “These organizations estimate that meeting the greenhouse gas targets in the House bill can be achieved at an annual cost between 22 cents and 48 cents per day per household in 2020. That’s about the price of a postage stamp per day.”

“I do not mean to say that we can get something for nothing,” Jackson stated. “But according to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the net cost to the average American household in 2020 would be less than 50 cents a day.”

Other administration officials testifying at the hearing, “Moving America Toward a Clean Energy Economy and Reducing Global Warming Pollution: Legislative Tools”, included Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack and Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar. They urged members of the committee to view federal climate legislation as an opportunity to create new green jobs and make America a leader in the global clean energy economy. 


Friday, July 3, 2009

Obama: American Clean Energy and Security Act Will Create Millions of Green Jobs

Yesterday, after a meeting with CEO’s from the nation’s most innovative energy companies, President Barack Obama told reporters that the global warming legislation passed by the House last week and currently being debated in the Senate will create new clean energy jobs for America and reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The work of building a clean energy economy was begun in earnest with passage of the American Relief and Recovery Act earlier this year. The stimulus package is already creating green jobs, according to the President.

“I'm pleased to say that we've achieved more in the past few months to create a new clean energy economy than we had achieved in many decades before,” he told reporters gathered at the White House.  “The recovery plan will double our country's supply of renewable energy, and is already creating new clean energy jobs.”

Obama went on to say that the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, the climate bill now awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, has the potential to create millions of new green jobs and curb global warming pollution.

“And last Friday, the House of Representatives passed an extraordinary piece of legislation that would make renewable energy the profitable kind of energy in America,” Obama went on to say. "It will reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  It will prevent the worst consequences of climate change.  And above all, it holds the promise of millions of new jobs -- jobs, by the way, that can't be outsourced.”


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Climate Bill Will Create Green Jobs, According To One Energy Company

The global warming and clean energy bill that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last will create new green jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy, at least according to one energy company. Today, Puget Sound Energy issued a statement to the press expressing it’s the support for the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.

“Our customers have told us they support renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, and their elected representatives in the House have heard that message,” according to Stephen Reynolds, the companies CEO and President.

PSE has had first hand experience in creating green jobs. The company owns and operates two wind farms in the state of Washington. Construction of the two wind facilities created about 175 temporary green jobs, and they currently employ 50 permanent full time employees.

PSE also offers incentives, including grants and rebates, designed to help customers pay for services that save energy and conserve natural gas. For example, it offers customers a rebate for up to $1,600 for home insulation.  The company estimates that these measures have created 450 new jobs working directly with the utility or with local businesses that provide related services.

“Combining both renewable energy and energy efficiency is the right step for both the climate and our customers,” Reynolds also said. “We’ve seen first hand that both areas can create new, green jobs and other benefits from renewable energy credits, as well as help our customers better manage their energy costs through using natural gas and electricity wisely.”

PSE isn’t just another renewable energy company hoping that government support will trigger new investments in clean energy. The company's diverse energy portfolio includes shared ownership of several coal-fired power plants in Montana, and also owns several natural gas-powered plants. Hydropower makes up the bulk of the company’s power portfolio. 


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Survey Finds More Than 50,000 Green Jobs in Oregon

A new report has estimated that Oregon was home to 51,402 green jobs in 2008.  The report, The Greening of Oregon’s Workforce: Jobs, Wages, and Training, was based on a survey of employers and was produced by the Oregon Employment Department. 

About half of Oregon’s green jobs were found to be in the construction, retail, and waste services industries. A little more than a quarter of the state’s green jobs workforce worked as carpenters, farm workers, truck drivers, hazardous materials removal workers, and landscaping or grounds keeping personnel.

Green jobs in Oregon paid slightly higher than other jobs on average. The average hourly wage for green jobs in Oregon was $22.61.

Green jobs in Oregon prove to be relatively accessible to the average worker. Close to two-thirds of the state’s green jobs required no more than a high school education, although those that required higher education did pay better. Only a third of green jobs in Oregon required a special license or certificate.

The number of green jobs in Oregon is expected to rise by 14 percent between 2008 and 2010.

A green job was defined as a job providing services or producing products in the following areas:

  1. Increasing energy efficiency
  2. Producing renewable energy
  3. Preventing, reducing, or mitigating environmental degradation
  4. Cleaning up and restoring the natural environment
  5. Providing education, consulting, policy promotion, accreditation, trading and offsets, or similar services supporting the above


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

GM Dumps Hummer As It Moves Towards A Leaner, Greener Future

General Motors is dumping Hummer as part of its efforts to restructure into a leaner, greener company. The company has issued a press release announcing a preliminary agreement to sell Hummer, a brand that has come to symbolize the obsession with oversized gas guzzlers that many believe helped to bring down America’s top auto manufacturers. Statements made by President Barack Obama and a GM President and CEO Fritz Henderson indicate that the company will focus on building more fuel-efficient vehicles in the future.

“Today marks the beginning of what will be a new company, a new GM dedicated to building the very best cars and trucks, highly fuel efficient, world class quality, green technology development, and with truly outstanding design,” Henderson stated at a recent press conference. He later explained to Caroline Hepker of the BBC that the company expects consumer demand for fuel efficient vehicles to remain strong in the future, particularly once the economic situation improves and gas prices start to rise again.

“So I'm confident that the steps I'm announcing today will mark the end of an old GM, and the beginning of a new GM; a new GM that can produce the high-quality, safe, and fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow; that can lead America towards an energy independent future; and that is once more a symbol of America's success,” Obama said in speech delivered earlier this week. The President also urged Congress work to jumpstart demand by passing legislation designed to provide a credit to consumers who trade in older, less efficient models for new, more efficient ones.



Friday, May 29, 2009

How Many Green Jobs Have Been Created By Stimulus Spending?

President Barack Obama recently claimed that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has created or saved an estimated 150,000 jobs over the past few months, including new green jobs. According to the President, Americans have been put to work “…building solar panels and wind turbines, making homes and offices more energy efficient.” Yet details about how many green jobs have been created by federal economic stimulus spending remain sketchy at the moment.

What information is currently available does seem to indicate that at least some of the stimulus spending over the past few months has gone towards projects and programs capable of creating green jobs. Using information found on and related government websites, I have compiled a brief list of programs that capable of creating green jobs that have received stimulus funds to date.

Department of Housing and Urban Development 

Assisted House Stability and Energy and Green Retrofit Investments: Total Amount Paid Out: $205,370,367

Description: N/A

Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation

Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations: Total Amount Paid Out - $2,200,517

Watershed Rehabilitation Act: Total Amount Paid Out - $212,077

Description: Will fund projects that provide the greatest public and environmental benefits through floodplain easements and investments in watershed infrastructure improvements. Watershed rehabilitation projects will mitigate the risks of failure and threats to public safety posed by aging flood control infrastructure. Potential projects are being evaluated and specific information will be posted as implementation proceeds.

Department of Education:

Impact Aid: Total amount paid out - $39,517,011

Description: Awards must be used for construction activities, including the preparation of drawings and specifications for school facilities; erecting, building, acquiring, altering, remodeling, repairing, or extending school facilities; and inspecting and supervising the construction of school facilities. Criteria for project selection includes: “The extent to which projects would use energy-efficient and recyclable materials.”

Department of Energy:

Defense Environmental Cleanup: Total Amount Paid Out – $10,989,818

Description: N/A

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Total Amount Paid Out - $9,871,909

Description: Stimulus money will be used to fund EPA’s Biomass Projects, Clean Cities FY09 Petroleum Reduction Technologies for the Transportation Sector, Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, Geothermal Technologies Program, High Penetration Solar Development, Large Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility, National Laboratory Call for Foundational Photovoltaics and Concentrating Solar Power Research Development, Solar Market Transformation, State Energy Program Formula Grants, Transportation Electrification, Weatherization Assistance Program Formula Grants, Wind Energy Consortia between Institutions of Higher Learning and Industry

Non-defense Environmental Cleanup: Total Amount Paid Out - $152,210

Description: N/A

Department of the Interior:

Resource Management: Total Amount Paid Out $25,581

Description: N/A

Operation of the National Park System: Total Amount Paid Out: $151,131

Description: N/A

Water and Related Resources: Total Amount Paid Out: $190,095

Description: N/A

Environmental Protection Agency: 

Total Amount Paid Out: $4,052,986

Description: Programs funded by stimulus package include the EPA’s Brownfields Program, Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, Leaking Underground Storage Tanks Program, National Clean Diesel Campaign, Superfund Hazardous Waste Cleanup Program

This list is not meant to be comprehensive. The American Recovery and Relief Act provides for $787 billion in economic stimulus spending over the next few years, according the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. A total of about $125 billion in funding has been made available to federal agencies to date, according to A little over $35 billion of this funding has been spent by federal agencies thus far. The list contains only those projects and programs that have received a portion of this actual spending. It does not contain a number of key programs capable of creating green jobs that have been designated for funding in the future.

The website is currently focused on providing the public with information about how stimulus funds are being allocated by category, state, and government agency. Brief overviews of some of the programs that have already received funding can be found on related government websites, but few details about these programs are available. What is available is a number of Excel spreadsheets that provide information about how much money federal agency been “paid out” so far. Wading through these spreadsheets is a cumbersome task.

The Council of Economic Advisors has projected that federal stimulus spending will create .7 million jobs in 2009, 3 million in 2010, 2.5 million in 2011, and .7 million in 2012. While these projections provide reason for optimism, there is a great need for greater transparency as more information about the actual impacts of stimulus spending become available. The site provides little hard evidence to back up President Obama’s claim that 175,000 jobs have been created by stimulus spending so for. Nor does it provide any information about the number or types of green jobs that have been created by stimulus spending.

To some extent, this is understandable. The American Recovery and Relief Act was signed into law on February 19, 2009. It takes time for any law to be implemented, and the government has acted relatively quickly in beginning to allocate and distribute funding. Information posted on indicates that the site will contain more details about stimulus spending and its impacts as more information becomes available over the coming months and years. It is important that the Obama administration follows through on these promises. Projections do not replace hard, verifiable data.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Obama: Stimulus Money Is Already Creating New Green Jobs

Yesterday, President Barack Obama announced the release of a report that provides early incite into role that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has played in creating new jobs across the nation.

“In these last few months, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has saved or created nearly 150,000 jobs -- jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, making homes and buildings more energy efficient,” according to Obama. “They're the jobs of teachers and police officers and nurses who have not been laid off as a consequence of this Recovery Act. They're the jobs fixing roads and bridges, jobs at start-ups and small businesses, and jobs that will put thousands of young Americans to work this summer.”

The report, entitled Recovery Report: 100 Days, 100 Projects, provides a small sampling of the job creating projects and programs that have been funded by the federal stimulus package to date. Among them are a number of projects designed to create new green jobs by investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and environmental conservation.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

“Using $27 million of Recovery Act funding, a public housing development in Washington, D.C., the Regency House, has undergone a green retrofit. As part of this upgrade, the building installed solar panels, a ‘green’ roof, a rainwater collection system, energy-efficient lighting as well as water conserving toilets, showerheads, and faucets. The greening of this building will allow the Regency House to save money in energy costs, while lessening their impact on the environment.”

“The Housing Authority of Laredo, Texas, has begun using $1.5 million in Recovery Act funds to implement “green” improvements at a number of older developments. The work will entail installing energy-efficient windows; weatherizing the exterior roofs, vents and siding; installing Solar Attic Fans; installing Solar Security Lighting; and, installing Energy Star Appliances throughout the developments. Combined, these improvements will drive down energy costs for the developments, while also lessening their impact on the environment.”

“The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will receive $64 million in federal stimulus money, with most of the funds going toward roadwork. The park’s trails, cemeteries, public restrooms and other buildings also will be improved. The park has already hired its own temporary workers for the projects.”

“A federal stimulus grant worth $17.5 million will fund the development of a solar fuels research center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the university said Wednesday. The five-year grant, which comes from the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will fund research on how to use artificial photo¬synthesis to produce low-cost and efficient solar fuels. The research at UNC would study how to use the sun’s energy to make fuels from water and carbon dioxide that could be used for heating, transportation or energy storage.”

“Elgin Community College, in Illinois, will use Recovery Act funds to create a summer jobs program for 16-to-24-year-olds. The program offers participants a chance to serve their community by working on green projects, earn a salary, and receive educational resources.”

“$20.6 million in Recovery Act funding is accelerating cleanup at the Iron Mountain Superfund site near Redding, California. These additional funds will make it possible to dredge, treat, and dispose of heavy-metal contaminated sediments in the Spring Creek arm of the Keswick Reservoir, a project originally slated to take three years that can now be completed in 18 months.”


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Obama Administration Announces $500 Million For Green Jobs Education, Training, And Job Placement Assistance

Yesterday, the Obama administration announced plans to invest $500 million in grants for green jobs training programs. The money will be used to train workers for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. $50 million worth of grants will be directed towards communities that have been impacts by the recent restructuring of the auto industry.

The announcement came at a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force in Denver and was accompanied by information about a new partnership between the Department of Labor, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Education. The new partnership will bolster the government’s efforts to provide students, the unemployed, and disadvantaged workers with the education, training, and job placement assistance they will need to compete for jobs in the nation’s growing green economy.

"Over the past three months, members of the Task Force and their staffs have come together to work on ways in which we can leverage programs at different agencies to ensure that green jobs are accessible to middle-class workers, as well as lower-income workers trying to gain a foothold into the middle class," Vice President Joe Biden was quoted as saying.

Biden also called upon the Council for Environment Quality to prepare a report on proposals that will prepare the way for future investments in the green economy. The proposals are expected to include programs designed to make commercial and residential buildings more energy efficient and develop new tools that will help Americans find green jobs. The administration hopes to revolving-loans and other forms of private financing to continue making investments in the green economy once funding from the stimulus package has been distributed.

The administration has already made great strides in using stimulus money to create jobs improving the energy efficiency of American homes by boosting in the federal Weatherization Assistance Program from $250 million in 2008 to $5 billion, according to one White House official.

“That translates to jobs for professionally trained crews using computerized energy audits and advanced equipment to determine the most cost-effective measures,” according to Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environment Quality. “To meet this demand for workers, there will have to be a huge ramp-up in training workers. That's why the Recovery Act also includes $500 million for green job training through the Department of Labor.”


Friday, April 3, 2009

$23 Million in Stimulus Money For Improving Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Homes

Concord, New Hampshire - A state run program that works to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs in low-income homes will receive more than $23 million in federal funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The investment will create an estimated 184 new green jobs in New Hampshire, according to the Office of Energy and Planning (OEP).

The money will go to the State of New Hampshire’s Weatherization Program, and will be used to provide services to 3,500 or more low-income households in the Granite State. The program is a part of the US Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which has assisted more than 6 million low-income families nationwide since its founding in 1976.

The investment will do more than just create do new green jobs and help struggling families though. The New Hampshire Climate Action Plan produced by Governor John Lynch’s Climate Change Task Force identifies improving energy efficiency in homes as one way to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Buildings accounted for about a third of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, according to Task Force. Granted, this figure includes emissions from business and industrial buildings as well.  Still, the plan identifies programs that improve energy efficiency in homes as a shovel ready means for curbing global warming pollution.

“The technology, equipment and expertise exist today to substantially reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool the average existing home, as well as to make new homes efficient from the offset,” according to the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan. “Studies have shown that existing homes can made anywhere from 15 to 60 percent more efficient by the use of improved air sealing, insulation, and equipment.”

These are precisely the type of improvements that will be made to low-income homes in New Hampshire thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The New Hampshire Climate Action Plan sets a goal of reducing net energy consumption in 30,000 homes by 60 percent. The more than $23 million in federal stimulus money that will go towards improving energy efficiency in low-income homes will help jump-start the state's efforts to meet this important goal.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Greenpeace urges New Hampshire Senators Gregg and Shaheen to support President's Budget

Concord, New Hampshire – Local Greenpeace field organizer David Pomerantz urged New Hampshire Senators Judd Gregg and Jeanne Shaheen to support President Barack Obama’s budget at a press conference held at the Legislative Office Building in Concord on Tuesday.

“America is facing bigger challenges than we’ve seen in generations – a collapsing global economy, soaring unemployment rates, and a rapidly warming climate,” said Pomerantz.

“President Obama’s budget recognizes that the solution to all three problems is the same: we must move America to a clean energy future that will create green jobs, end our dependence on foreign oil and curb global warming while we still can.”

The President’s budget calls for the development of a cap and trade system designed to reduce the nation’s greenhouse emissions 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Towards this end the budget includes a $19 million dollar increase in funding for related Environmental Protection Agency programs, including work on a national greenhouse gas emissions inventory. The budget also provides support for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs designed to create new green jobs and stimulate economic growth.

After the press conference, Pomerantz told me that he expects Senator Shaheen to vote in favor of the budget, noting that as a candidate she campaigned strongly on clean energy, global warming, and green jobs.

Pomerantz described Senator Gregg as an outspoken opponent of the president’s budget. Still, he noted, Gregg had voted in support of global warming legislation in the past. That gave him hope that the veteran Senator might help block amendments aimed at removing the global warming provisions of the budget. "New Hampshire voters also know that Senator Gregg will be a crucial swing vote in climate legislation later this year, and we hope he aligns himself with his state's best interests by casting a vote for a safe climate."

Global warming is a hot issue in New Hampshire these days. Governor John Lynch’s Climate Change Task Force recently released the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan, and a public debate has been raging over the future of the state’s only coal burning power plant, Merrimack Station. The plant is responsible for around 20 percent of New Hampshire’s greenhouse gas emissions. Pomerantz offered a few comments about the future of coal power in America.

“Coal is the leading source of global warming pollution in this country,” he said. He went on to cite a recent Greenpeace report,Energy {r}evolution, that found that the United States could use existing clean energy technology to meet all of its energy needs by 2050, without coal or nuclear power. The same report found that existing clean energy technology could be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels 85 percent below current levels by 2050.

Pomerantz also expressed confidence that the energy needs of New Hampshire will one day be met using clean, renewable sources of energy. "But broadly speaking, the U.S. can get off coal very quickly if we stop building new coal plants and rapidly invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy like wind and solar power", he added

The press conference was organized by a coalition of advocacy groups working to rally local grassroots support for President Obama’s budget as part of a nationwide campaign called Rebuild and Renew America Now! Participants included Every Child Matters, Granite State Progress, Greenpeace New England, NH Citizens Alliance for Action, SEIU’s Change That Works, Seacoast for Change Grassroots Network, and Working Families Win. Speakers sought to frame the budget as a blueprint for confronting the current economic crisis, as well as for address other long-term challenges facing the nation.

“President Obama’s proposed budget returns fairness to our tax code, takes control of the federal deficit, and makes significant down payments on quality, affordable healthcare for America, world-class education, and a clean energy future,” said Sarah Chaisson Warner of NH Citizens Alliance.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

New Hampshire Climate Action Plan Raises Questions About Future of State's Only Coal Power Plant

On March 25, Governor John Lynch’s Climate Change Task Force released the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan. The plan’s release is likely to raise some new questions about the future of the Granite State’s only coal burning power plant, Merrimack Station. In 2006, the state passed a law requiring Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) to install scrubbers designed to reduce mercury and sulfur dioxide emissions at the plant. Since then, PSNH has increased the estimated cost of the scrubber project from $250,000,000 to $457,000,000. The increase has led many in the state to question whether keeping the plant open is worth the long-term costs to PSNH ratepayers, as well as to the environment.

The Climate Change Task Force worked for more than a year to create the plan, which lays out ambitious mid-term and long-term goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It recommends reducing emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2025, and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It also recommends a total of 67 actions that policy makers can take to start the hard work of achieving these goals.

The plan acknowledges that implementing all 67 of the recommended actions would only reduce emissions to 16.4% percent below 1990 levels by 2050, falling well short of the 80 percent target. This shortfall is explained as follows:

“This action plan contains those measures that the Task Force believes will be most effective in rapidly addressing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next one to two decades while positioning the residents, government, businesses, industries, and not-for-profits to achieve still greater future reductions as technological, economic, political and social changes allow.”

This approach is worthy of praise in that it recognizes the need to take immediate action to curb global warming pollution. Still, the plan contains one rather obvious omission. It fails to call for the eventual shutdown of Merrimack Station. The 41-year old plant is responsible for 20 percent of New Hampshire’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the costly $457,000,000 scrubber installation project will do nothing to reduce these emissions. Replacing the plant with a cleaner alternative could make a big difference in the long-term.

This omission is particularly interesting given that the plan lists the burning of fossil fuels for energy production as one of three main sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New Hampshire. As a solution, the plan calls for the increased use of renewable, low-CO2 sources of energy to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. It also emphasizes the potential economic benefits of developing in-state sources of renewable energy:

“In addition, to the extent that in-state energy resources can reduce the dependence on imported fossil fuel, such resources will result in more dollars staying in New Hampshire, thus having a positive impact on non-energy sectors of the state economy.”

While the plan does not explicitly calling for the eventual closure of the Merrimack Station, it certainly raises some interesting questions about the future of the coal power in New Hampshire. PSNH customers will be asked to pay for the $457,000,000 cost of the current scrubber project, and for future any upgrades that will be need to keep the aging plant in compliance with state and federal environmental regulations.

State Senator Harold Janeway has proposed a bill, SB 152, that would require the Public Utilities Commission to compare the costs associated with keeping Merrimack Station open with those associated with alternative means for meeting the energy needs of PSNH customers. These alternatives include investment of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. Either alternative would create new green jobs for New Hampshire, and help to protect the environment.

The public has a definite interest in learning more about the economic and environmental costs associated with the future operation of Merrimack Station. Let’s hope that lawmakers in Concord read through the lines and realize that the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan provides good reason for voting for SB 152.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Hampshire Climate Action Plan Calls for 80% Reduction in State's Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050

The New Hampshire Climate Action Plan released today by Granite State Governor John Lynch contains two ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It establishes a long-term goal aimed at reducing emissions to a level 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It also recommends a mid-term goal aimed at reducing emissions to a level 20 percent below those present in 1990 by 2025.

 “Here in New Hampshire, we already recognize that climate change poses serious risks to the health of our citizens, to our quality of life and to our economic future,” Lynch was quoted as saying in a press release. “And we are already national leaders in efforts to cut pollution, to build a new energy future and to build a greener economy.”

“This report will help us build on the efforts we’ve already made to reduce the pollution that causes global warming and climate change.”

The plan states that the majority of New Hampshire’s greenhouse gas emissions are produced by the use of fossil fuels for energy, heat, and transportation. Its release comes at a time of intense debate over the future of the state’s only coal burning power plant.  

The New Hampshire Climate Change Task Force, formed by Lynch in December of 2007, worked for more than a year to produce the plan. It recommends a total of 67 actions that stake policy makers can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, broken down into ten areas of focus.

1. Maximize energy efficiency in buildings:

Maximize Efficiency in New Construction

Maximize Energy Efficiency in Existing Residential Buildings

Maximize Energy Efficiency in Existing Commercial, Industrial, and Municipal Buildings

Install Higher-Efficiency Equipment, Processes, and Systems

Increase the Use of Combined Heat and Power

Consider Alternative Rate Design

Upgrade Building Energy Codes

Increase Building Energy Code Compliance

Establish an Energy Properties Section in Real Estate Property Listings

Conserve Embodied Energy in Existing Building Stock

2. Increase renewable and low-CO2-emitting sources of energy in a long-term sustainable manner:

Promote Renewable Energy through the Electric Portfolio Standard (RPS) 

Increase Renewable and Low-CO2 Thermal Energy Systems

Promote Low- and Non-CO2-Emitting Electric Generation

Identify and Deploy the Next Generation of Electric Grid Technologies

Promote Low- and Non-CO2-Emitting Distributed Generation

Encourage the Use of Biogenic Waste Sources for EnergyGeneration

Implement Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

Enable Importation of Canadian Hydro and Wind Generation

Allow Regulated Utilities to Build Renewable Generation

3. Support regional and national actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

Support Stricter Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards

Support Fuel Economy Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Adopt a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard

Promote Advanced Technology Vehicles and Supporting Infrastructure

Support Strong Climate Action at the Federal Level

4. Reduce vehicle emissions through state actions:

Adopt California Low Emission Vehicle (CALEV) Standards

Create a Point-of-Sale Financial Incentive for Higher-Efficiency Vehicles

Install Retrofits to Address Black Carbon Emissions

Implement Commuter Trip Reduction Initiative

Increase Highway Automobile Efficiency

Address Vehicle Idling

Improve Traffic Flow

5. Encourage appropriate land use patterns that reduce vehicle-miles traveled:

Assess Greenhouse Gas Development Impact Fees

Streamline Approvals for Low- Greenhouse Gas Development Projects

Develop Model Zoning to Support Bus/Rail Transit

Develop Model Zoning for Higher-Density, Mixed-Use Development

Continue/Expand Funding, Education, and Technical Assistance to Municipalities

6. Reduce vehicle-miles traveled through an integrated multi-modal transportation system:

Improve Existing Local/Intra-Regional Transit (Bus) Service

Expand Local/Intra-Regional Transit (Bus) Service

Improve Existing Inter-City Bus Service

Expand and Improve Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure

Maintain and Expand Passenger Rail Service

Maintain and Expand Freight Rail Service

Implement a Stable Funding Stream to Support Public Transportation

Expand Park-and-Ride Infrastructure

7. Protect natural resources (land, water and wildlife) to maintain the amount of carbon fixed or sequestered:

Invest in Forests to Maximize Carbon Storage and to Avoid Net Forest Land Conversion

Optimize Availability of Biomass for Electricity and Heating within Sustainable Limits

Promote Durable Wood Products

Protect Agricultural Land

Maximize Source Reduction, Reuse and Recycling

8. Lead by example in government operations:

Establish an Energy Management Unit to Address State Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Establish an Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Baseline Inventory for State Government

Establish a Self-Sustaining Fund for Energy Efficiency Projects in State Government

Provide for the Establishment of Local Energy Commissions

Include Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Programs and Planning

Promote Public School Siting and Building Aid to Reduce Energy Use

9. Plan for how to address existing and potential climate change impacts:

Develop a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the State of New Hampshire

Develop and Distribute Critical Information on Climate Change

Promote Policies and Actions to Help Populations Most at Risk

Charge and Empower Public Health Officials to Prepare for Climate Change

Strengthen Protection of New Hampshire’s Natural Systems

Increase Resilience to Extreme Weather Events

Strengthen the Adaptability of New Hampshire’s Economy to Climate Change

10. Develop an integrated education, outreach and work-force training program:

Develop an Overarching Outreach and Education Plan

Include Energy Efficiency and Conservation in School Curriculum

Increase Energy Efficiency through Building Management Education Programs

Reduce Residential Energy Demand through Education and Outreach

Establish a Comprehensive Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Education Program

Create an Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Systems Web Portal

The complete plan is now available in PDF form on the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services website. Click here to view the plan in its entirety.


Governor John Lynch to Unveil New Hampshire Climate Action Plan Today

Granite State Governor John Lynch plans to unveil the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan at a media event in Concord today, according to a press release issued by the NH Department of Environmental Services. The plan is the result of more than a years worth of work by the state’s Climate Change Policy Task Force. 

Details about the plan have not yet been made available to the public.

Useful Links:

NHDES: Climate Change Policy Task Force

Office of the Governor: Climate Change Efforts in New Hampshire

The event will be held in the Executive Council Chambers of the New Hampshire State House, located at 107 N. Main St in Concord. It begins at 1:00 p.m. 


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

American Recovery & Reinvestment Plan: Comparing House & Senate Spending on Green Jobs Initiatives

Since first entering office a few weeks ago, President Barack Obama has spent much of his time urging members of the House and Senate to work quickly to pass an economic stimulus package designed to create millions of new jobs for America. If early signs are any indication, many of the jobs created by the stimulus package will be green jobs.

The House heeded Obama's call last week, passing the American Recovery & Reinvestment Bill of 2009. This week it’s the Senate’s turn. The Senate Committee on Appropriations has released a summary of its own version of the stimulus package, calling it the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Both versions of the stimulus package contain funding for numerous policies designed to create new green jobs by investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmental conservation.

The following summary compares figures for proposed spending on a few of the green jobs initiatives found in both versions of the stimulus package:

Advanced Batteries:

Senate: $2 billion is provided in grant funding for the manufacturing of advanced batteries systems and components and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States.

House: $2 billion for the Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee and Grants Program, to support U.S. manufacturers of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems.

Clean Water:

Senate: $6 billion for local clean and drinking water infrastructure improvements.

House: $8 billion for loans to help communities upgrade wastewater treatment systems and for drinking water infrastructure.

Clean Water: Rural

Senate: $1.4 billion to support $3.8 billion in loans and grants for needed water and waste disposal facilities in rural areas. 

House: $1.5 billion to support $3.8 billion in grants and loans to help rural communities fund drinking water and wastewater treatment systems.

Energy Efficiency Grants

Senate: $4.2 billion for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Grants.  

House: $6.9 billion to help state and local governments make investments that make them more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions.  

Energy Efficiency: Department of Defense

Senate: $3.2 billion to be used to invest in energy efficiency projects and to improve the repair and modernization of Department of Defense facilities to include Defense Health facilities.

House: $1.8 billion for efforts to make our military bases more energy efficient, beyond benefits that will come from replacing and repairing facilities.

Energy Efficiency: Home Weatherization

Senate: $2.9 billion is available for the Weatherization Assistance Program.  

House: $6.2 billion to help low-income families reduce their energy costs by weatherizing their homes and make our country more energy efficient.

Energy Efficiency: Government Buildings

Senate: $6 billion for repair of federal buildings to increase energy efficiency using green technology.  

House: $6.7 billion for renovations and repairs to federal buildings, including at least $6 billion focused on increasing energy efficiency and conservation.

Energy Efficiency: Public housing

Senate: $5 billion to the public housing capital fund to enable local public housing agencies to address a $32 billion backlog in capital needs -- especially those improving energy efficiency in aging buildings

House: $16 billion to repair public housing and make key energy efficiency retrofits. 

Energy Efficiency: Schools

Senate: $16 billion to repair, renovate and construct public schools in ways that will raise energy efficiency and provide greater access to information technology, and $3.5 billion to improve higher education facilities.

House: $20 billion, including $14 billion for K-12 and $6 billion for higher education, for renovation and modernization, including technology upgrades and energy efficiency improvements.

Energy: Smart Grid

Senate: $4.5 billion for smart-grid related activities, including work to modernize the electric grid.

House: $11 billion for research and development, pilot projects, and federal matching funds for the Smart Grid Investment Program to modernize the electricity grid making it more efficient, secure, and reliable and build new power lines to transmit clean, renewable energy from sources throughout the nation. 

Environmental Clean-Up

Senate: $1.4 billion for EPA’s nationwide environmental cleanup programs, including Superfund.

House: $800 million for Superfund Hazardous Waste Cleanup to clean up hazardous and toxic waste sites that threaten health and the environment.

Senate: $6.4 billion is directed towards environmental cleanup of former weapon production and energy research sites.  

House: $500 million for nuclear waste cleanup at sites contaminated as a result of the nation’s past nuclear activities. $300 million for cleanup activities at closed military installations.

Public Transportation:

Senate: $8.4 billion for investments in public transportation.

House: $13 billion for transit and rail to reduce traffic congestion and gas consumption.


Senate: $1.4 billion total for National Science Foundation (NSF) Research.

House: $3 billion for National Science Foundation, including $2 billion for expanding employment opportunities in fundamental science and engineering to meet environmental challenges and to improve global economic competitiveness.

Senate: $1.2 billion total for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

House: $600 million for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for satellite development and acquisitions, including climate sensors and climate modeling.    

Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Research:

Senate: $2.6 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research. 

House: $2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities to foster energy independence, reduce carbon emissions, and cut utility bills.

You can learn more about the two existing versions of the stimulus package by visiting the following links:

Let your representatives in Congress know that you want green jobs to play a central role in the economic stimulus package:

Sierra Club: Urge the Senate to Support the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Green Jobs Now: “I’m Ready” Petition