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Major Green Industries with a significant presence in the central regions of California: Solar, Wind, Fuel Cells, Biofuel, Hydro.

This page focuses in on group of economic regions that are situated on the northern part of the state. These are: the Central Coast, San Joaquin Valley and the Central Sierra Region. This is a more rural part of the state, situated between the big urban centers of the Bay Area and Sacramento to the north and the greater Los Angeles metropolis to the south.

To read about California’s nine economic development regions and how they were selected and what agency made the determinations check out the Nine Economic Regions Within California page.

Central Coast

The Central Coast region of California is centered around the city of Monterrey and Salinas in the north and San Luis Obispo in the southern end. It has some major research universities and institutes including California Institute of Technology and the The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

The California’s Green Economy survey found that in the period surveyed (May 2009 – January 2010) the Central Coast region had 230 renewable energy and energy storage jobs; 390 positions in recycling and waste management; 2,700 jobs in energy efficiency; 520 jobs in education, compliance, and awareness; and reflecting its rural nature 4,810 jobs in natural and sustainable product manufacturing. The total number of green economy jobs in the Central Coast region stood at 8,650, which is 3.3% of the green jobs in the state. Green jobs accounted for 2.6% of all jobs in this region.

Green employment in the Central Coast grew 3% in the most recent reported year. From January 1995 to 2009, green employment expanded by seven percent and green businesses grew by 52 percent, adding approximately 170 establishments. Employment in the region’s Energy Generation sector increased 165 percent from the start of 1995 to 2009. Energy Storage tripled in employment over this period and was mainly driven by growth related to fuel cells.

The San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley is the agricultural heart of California, lying to the south of Sacramento in the central valley regions of the state. Its major cities are: Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton, and Modesto all lying along the 99 corridor. The San Joaquin Valley bioregion is bordered on the west by the coastal mountain ranges, on the east by the Sierras, which join in the south at the grapevine pass.

This region had 320 renewable energy jobs; 4,130 recycling and waste management jobs; 2,780 jobs in energy efficiency; 1,760 jobs in education, compliance, and awareness; and 18,890 jobs in natural and sustainable product manufacturing. The total number of green economy jobs in the San Joaquin Valley region stood at 27,880, which is 10.6% of the green jobs in the state. Green jobs accounted for 2.8% of all jobs in this region. One of California’s main wind energy areas is located in Tehachapi, south east of Bakersfield.

Although slowing in the most recent year, San Joaquin Valley’s green economy expanded by 55 percent from January 1995 to 2009, producing nearly 3,360 jobs and 390 new business establishments in the region’s Core Green Economy. The Energy Generation sector is responsible for nearly 24 percent of green employment in the San Joaquin Valley. Employment in this segment grew 113% (1,200 jobs) from 1995 to 2009, and establishments grew 175 percent (120 establishments). The largest segment of the green economy in this region is recycling & waste management, which accounts for 24% of green employment. Employment in this segment increased four percent from January 2008 to 2009 and was driven almost exclusively by job growth in recycling.

Clean transportation sector employment more than tripled from 1995 to 2009 growing to nearly 500 jobs. With an employment concentration 50% above the state average, this segment represents an important regional strength.

The Central Sierra Region

The Central Sierra Region includes seven counties — Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono and Tuolumne. This region accounts for 0.4% of California’s jobs and 0.5% of its population. The region’s unemployment rate in 2005 was 5.7%. This region had the fourth highest unemployment rate of the nine regions, above the state average of 5.4%.

The region had 480 jobs in recycling and waste management, 20 jobs in energy efficiency; 130 in education, compliance, and awareness; and 890 jobs in natural and sustainable product manufacturing. There were 1,520 green economy jobs in all for this region or 0.6% of the green jobs statewide. As a percentage of this regions total employment green economy sector jobs accounted for 3.7% of the total.

In terms of business growth, the number of green establishments in the region increased 50 percent between January 1995 and 2009. The number of business establishments in the water & wastewater sector increased 31 percent over the 15-year period. With employment shares 60% above the statewide average, the renewable energy generation sector is highly concentrated in the Sierra Region. The solar and wind sectors have driven this regional renewable energy growth.

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