by Chris de Morsella, Green Economy Post Chris is the co-editor of The Green Executive Recruiter Directory. Follow Chris on Twitter @greeneconpost

Click here to go back to the main page of the The Green Economy Post U.S. Cleantech Employment Outlook: California Green Jobs Section

Major Green Industries with a significant presence in the northern regions of California: Solar, Wind, Biofuel, Smart Grid, Energy Storage, Fuel Cells, Hydro, Geothermal, Green Building, Energy Efficiency, Sustainability, Electric Cars.

This page focuses in on group of economic regions that are situated on the northern part of the state. These are: the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, Northern California and the Northern Sacramento Valley regions.

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.

Of the four regions covered by this page the Bay Area is the biggest in terms of both its overall economy and its green economy, followed by the other big urban center of Greater Sacramento. By many measures the Bay Area is one of the world’s preeminent green economy hot spots; and it certainly has this stature within the U.S.

The Bay Area

The California’s Green Economy survey found that in the period surveyed (May 2009 – January 2010) the Bay Area had 1,710 renewable energy and energy storage jobs; 11,660 recycling jobs; 24,720 jobs in energy efficiency product manufacturing, distribution, construction, installation, and maintenance; 15,340 jobs in education, compliance and awareness;19,740 people were employed in natural and sustainable product manufacturing jobs; and 320 people were working in other green jobs not covered by any of these green economy segments.

The total number for employment in the green economy in the Bay Area stood at: 73,480 green jobs in the Bay Area, which is 27.9% of all green jobs in the state. For comparison total employment for all firms in the Bay Area is 2,756,270 or 21.9% of the jobs in the state. In the Bay Area the green economy provides 2.7% of all the jobs for this region.

The Bay Area has recorded the strongest green employment gains in the state, expanding by 109 percent since 1995. From January 2008 to 2009, green employment in the Bay Area increased 8% adding almost 3,500 jobs, and the Bay Area represents 28 percent of the employment and 26 percent of the businesses in California’s growing green economy. It also accounts for 45 percent of California’s employment in the energy storage sector. Since 1995, employment has surged 790 percent, adding nearly 2,230 jobs. Just from 2008 to 2009, expansions yielded 580 new jobs.

In 2009, the San Francisco Bay and Greater Silicon Valley the Center Of Excellence (COE), studied eight energy efficiency occupations and projected that as many as 13,000 new energy efficiency related jobs will be added over the next three years.

The Bay Area has a rapidly growing and nationally prominent advanced energy storage sector that provided around 1,400 jobs in advanced batteries and more than 1,000 jobs in fuel cell development in 2009, according to the Many Shades of Green Report.

This region is also important in the clean transportation sector with a major new Tesla manufacturing plant that will begin production of its mid market sports sedan the Model S in late 2011 in a state-of-the-art assembly plant in Fremont, California. The new facility built in an old GM plant will employ about 1,000 workers.

Many companies, both startup and well established that are involved in some manner with developing for or managing the smart grid are located in the Bay Area. These include the smart grid software developers, Google, headquarters in Mountain View, 4Home, based in Sunnyvale, eMeter, and Hara Software both located in San Mateo, and Better Place, based in Palo Alto; the hardware firms, Cisco, headquartered in San Jose, Silver Spring, located in Redwood City, Adura Technologies, based in San Francisco, and Agilewaves based in Menlo Park; device manufacturer, Coulomb Technologies, based in San Jose. Other Bay Area firms that are involved in the smart grid in some manner include: Grid Net, Hewlett Packard, iControl, Intel, Oracle, People Power, Redwood Systems, Samsung Electronics (hardware development), and. Sentilla

The bay area is also where one of the state’s most important wind energy areas is in Altamont Pass, east of San Francisco.

The Greater Sacramento Area

Greater Sacramento provides 620 renewable energy and energy storage jobs; 9,390 jobs in recycling and waste management; 1,710 jobs in energy efficiency; 430 jobs in education, compliance, and awareness; and 780 people worked in green manufacturing. The total number of people employed in the green economy in the Greater Sacramento Area is 12,920, which represents 4.9% of the green jobs in the state. 808,810 people are employed by all firms in the Greater Sacramento Area with green jobs representing 1.6% of the total labor force.

The Sacramento Area is a green economy growth leader. The region gained approximately 7,100 new jobs from January 1995 to 2009, reflecting a 103 percent increase over that time period. The renewable energy sector brought roughly 1,900 new jobs to the region, and increased nine percent in the most recent observable period (January 2008-2009). While green building sector employment grew by a factor of four from January 1995 to 2009 and added approximately 700 jobs.

The Northern California COE conducted a survey of Greater Sacramento Region firms who employ energy efficiency workers and found that as many as 3,530 new jobs could be added in the next three years.

Northern California

Northern California has 190 jobs in renewable energy; 310 in recycling and waste management;1,030 in energy efficiency; 1,800 jobs in education, compliance, and awareness; and 3,160 jobs in natural and sustainable product manufacturing. The total number of people employed in the green economy in the Northern California region is 6,490, which represents 2.5% of the green jobs in the state. 127,720 people are employed by all firms in Northern California and green jobs represent 5.1% of the total labor force.

Since 1995, green employment has increased 46 percent in this region, adding roughly 620 jobs, an important addition to North Coast employment, which grew only 15 percent over the same time period. Green businesses in the region have shown similar growth expanding 56 percent to nearly 290 establishments in January 2009. The North Coast’s largest green segment, Energy Generation, accounts for 25 percent of total green employment. Since 1995, Energy Generation jobs increased 32 percent, and 25 businesses opened.

The COE survey has projected that some 360 energy efficiency related jobs may be added over the next three years in Northern Coastal region.

Northern Sacramento Valley

Northern Sacramento Valley provides 30 renewable energy and energy storage jobs; 580 jobs in recycling and waste management; 750 jobs in energy efficiency; 190 jobs in education, compliance, and awareness; and 1,070 people worked in green manufacturing. The total number of people employed in the green economy in the Northern Sacramento Valley is 2,620, which represents 1.0% of the green jobs in the state. 95,980 people are employed by all firms in the Northern Sacramento Valley with green jobs representing 2.7% of the total labor force.

From January 1995 to 2009, green employment in the Sacramento Valley expanded 40 percent, adding approximately 1,000 jobs and out-pacing growth in the larger economy. Green business establishments doubled in number over the long period and increased six percent from January 2008 to 2009.

The Sacramento Valley leads the state in the Agriculture Support sector and is a leader in the production of biofuels. Representing 46 percent of green employment in this region, agriculture support added roughly 330 jobs from 1995 to 2009. Employment in this agro-industrial segment is 23 times more concentrated than the statewide average.

The COE survey has projected that some 460 energy efficiency related jobs may be added over the next three years in this region.

Return to the California Green Jobs Main Page