Major Green Industries with a significant presence in the southern regions of California:Solar, Wind, Fuel Cells, Biofuel.
This page is focused on the southern regions of California that are centered around the Los Angeles, Orange County, Inland Empire and San Diego metro areas. This page includes two of the Nine Economic Regions Within California. Important metro areas within this region are: Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Diego, Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura and the El Centro area.
The region boasts five University of California campuses (Los Angeles (UCLA), Irvine, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and San Diego (UCSD);10 California State University campuses; and private institutions such as Caltech, the University of Southern California (USC), Pepperdine University, Loyola Marymount University, Chapman University, the Claremont Colleges and the University of San Diego (USD). This gives this region’s green economy a powerful basic research capacity that has helped nascent green economy clusters find fertile ground in this region of 22.4 million people.
Green Jobs in Southern California
The Southern California region is comprised of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties and stretches from Santa Barbara, through the greater Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Orange County metro areas and then in through the sparsely populated desert interior.
The California’s Green Economy survey found that in the period surveyed (May 2009 – January 2010) the Southern California Economic Region had 13,330 renewable energy and energy storage jobs; 27,640 people were employed in recycling and environmental waste management; 24,000 people worked in energy efficiency related jobs; 13,660 jobs existed in green education, compliance and awareness; natural and sustainable product manufacturing employed 27,590 people; and 100 people were employed in other green economy jobs not covered by the main categories.
The total number of green jobs in the Southern California Economic Region stood at 106,330, which is 40.4% of the total for the whole state. Green jobs provide 1.7% of all the jobs by all employers in the region.
Southern California is an important manufacturing base for the wind energy sector with five major facilities located in this region, , including national wind turbine leader GE Energy and Ameron International. In addition it has one of the states three big wind energy producing regions at San Gorgonio pass, near Palm Springs and east of Los Angeles. Southern California is also adjacent to one of the state’s other big three wind areas located in Tehachapi, south east of Bakersfield. Read more about the direction of wind energy jobs in California.
Los Angeles Area
The Los Angeles Area represents a significant portion of California’s Core Green Economy boasting 23 percent of green employment in the state and 22 percent of green businesses. Green employment in the Los Angeles Area has grown 20% since 1995, adding 6,600 jobs to the region. This rate of growth far out-paces overall growth in the region, which was recorded at nine percent over the same time period. The Los Angeles Area is a hot spot for green clean transportation jobs, increasing 33% since 1995 and nine percent between January 2008 and 2009.
Based on a 2009 survey of Los Angeles Area firms, employers are projected to add over 6,500 new jobs over the next three years in eight energy efficiency occupations.
From January 1995 to 2009, green employment in Orange County increased 67%, adding 7,700 jobs during that time period. Orange County’s green job rate is growing faster than overall jobs. Orange County is a leader in the clean transportation sector as well as the alternative fuels sector. With employment shares more than double the state average in the clean transportation sector, the region reflects a mounting strength in this field. The renewable energy sector is powering much of Orange County’s green economy and represents 18% of green employment, boasting nearly 3,440 jobs.
The Orange County COE conducted a survey of firms who employ energy efficiency workers and found that as many as 3,130 new jobs could be added in the next three years.
Although slowing over the most recent year, green employment grew 53% while total employment increased 47% between January 1995 and 2009. During this time, approximately 4,400 green jobs and over 500 business establishments were added to the region’s green economy. The renewable energy sector has powered much of the employment growth in the Inland Empire’s core green economy, and employment in renewable energy grew 129% from 1995 to 2009, adding roughly 1,500 jobs. In the clean transportation sector, the Inland Empire has become a leader in alternative fuels with employment shares nearly triple the statewide average.
Based on a 2009 survey of Inland Empire firms as many as 3,030 new jobs will be added over the next three years in eight energy efficiency occupations.
Interior Department OKs 550 Megawatt Solar Project in California
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) approved on August 10 the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, a 550-megawatt (MW) solar power project to be built in the California desert east of Palm Springs. Desert Sunlight, the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) facility approved for U.S. public land, will generate enough energy to power more than 165,000 homes. It is located on approximately 4,100 acres. The facility will create more than 630 jobs at peak construction. In June, DOE granted Desert Sunlight project operators a conditional commitment of a $1.88 billion loan guarantee.
Green Jobs in the Southern Border Region
The Southern Border region extends from the San Diego metropolitan area on the coast, inland and into the Imperial Valley region, which many believe may be one of the best areas in the world for algal biofuel production.
The California’s Green Economy survey found that in the period surveyed (May 2009 – January 2010) the Southern Border Economic Region had 1,170 renewable energy and energy storage jobs; 5,680 people were employed in recycling and environmental waste management; 8,860 people worked in energy efficiency related jobs; 2,900 jobs existed in green education, compliance and awareness; and natural and sustainable product manufacturing employed 2,460 people.
The total number of green jobs in the Southern Border Economic Region stood at 21,060, which is 8.0% of the total for the whole state. Green jobs provide 1.8% of all the jobs by all employers in the region.
The San Diego Area
San Diego was considered a green jobs growth leader in the most recent observable period (January 2008-2009). Green employment in the region expanded by 6.5%, more than double the statewide green jobs growth rate. Water & Wastewater green establishments grew from under 50 to nearly 80, reflective of a 58% growth in this sector since 1995. Clean transportation sector employment growth accelerated by a factor of six to almost 580 employees between January 1995 and 2009.
The San Diego-Imperial Region COE conducted a study of eight energy efficiency occupations in San Diego and Imperial counties and found that employers could add as many as 2,600 new jobs regionally over the next three years.
The San Diego – Imperial Valley area is gaining national prominence as a hot spot for algal biofuels, combining a cluster of algal biofuel R&D with one of the nations very best regions for growing algae. Read more on the algal biofuel jobs in Southern California.