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

Major Green Industries with a significant presence in the state are: solar, energy efficiency, sustainability, ocean energy, geothermal.

Connecticut was listed among the top 10 states in Clean Edge’s second annual U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index; it placed in ninth place. The index is an analysis and ranking of how all 50 states, and the individuals, businesses, and organizations that operate there, compare across the clean-energy spectrum, based on analysis and ranking of how all 50 states, and the individuals, businesses, and organizations that operate there, compare across the clean-energy spectrum. The southern portion of the state lies within the greater New York City metro area, which was the fourth ranked metro area in the country for cleantech jobs activity.

The Pew Charitable Trusts “Clean Energy Economy Report“ found that in 2007 Connecticut reported 857 cleantech businesses that provided a total of 10,147 green jobs. Over the decade 1998-2007 employment in the Connecticut cleantech sector grew by 7.0% compared with a 2.7% contraction in overall employment for the state over the same period. Over the two year period (2006-2008) Connecticut saw around $30 million of venture capital invested in its cleantech sector.

The Connecticut Renewable Energy / Energy Efficiency Economy Baseline Study estimates that the state currently has 4,544 direct jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, which is 0.27% of its total labor force. The total number rises when indirect and induced jobs are factored in and is around 11,400 or 0.69% of the total labor force.

Connecticut’s Green Occupations

The Office of Research, of the Connecticut Department of Labor has provided the following breakdown and projections for various green occupational categories, which are:

Natural Sciences Managers – there were 933 in 2006. There are projections that there will be 1,062 in 2016( 13.83% increase)
Environmental Engineers – there were 747 in 2006. There are projections that there will be 891 in 2016( 19.28% increase)
Environmental Engineering Technicians there were 216 in 2006. There are projections that there will be 248 in 2016( 14.81% increase)
Environ. Scientists & Specialists, Incl. Health – there were 685in 2006. There are projections that there will be 761 in 2016( 11.09% increase)
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists & Geographers– there were 174 in 2006. There are projections that there will be 209 in 2016( 20.11% increase)
Hydrologists – there were 97 in 2006. There are projections that there will be 121 in 2016 (24.74% increase)
Environ. Science & Protection Tech., Incl. Health – there were 392 in 2006. There are projections that there will be 458 in 2016( 16.84% increase
Power Plant Operators – there were 175 in 2006. There are projections that there will be 169 in 2016( -3.43% increase)
Water & Liquid Waste Treat. Plant & System Oper. – there were 856 in 2006. There are projections that there will be 955 in 2016( 11.57% increase)

Renewable Energy Jobs in Connecticut

In 2009 Connecticut had 53 renewable energy companies, and the state provided 727 direct or indirect renewable energy jobs.

In Connecticut, the Renewable Portfolio Standard RPS requires that by 2010, 7% of power in the state will be from renewable resources. The RPS will also require wholesale suppliers to obtain at least 23% of their retail load by using renewable energy by January 1, 2020.

As a result of the state’s incentives, a number of large and innovative renewable energy projects are being developed, including two ocean power pilot facilities, a utility-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, and biodiesel, solar and biomass facilities.

Despite Connecticut’s small size and relatively cool climate, it has managed to create a growing market for residential and commercial solar energy, sustained by supportive rebates and distributed generation programs. The bulk of renewable energy generation in Connecticut is derived from 7 waste-to-energy plants throughout the state.

A solar photovoltaic encapsulant company is seeking to expand its Connecticut manufacturing capacity to 3 GW in 2011 and develop a 20,000 square foot research and development laboratory.

Though Connecticut is not itself a geothermal hotspot with few easily available resources the state will benefit from growth in this sector because its industry is a major supplier of industrial components used by geothermal thermoelectric plants.

Energy Efficiency Jobs in Connecticut

In spite of a general weakness in new construction due to the global recession, one building-related field has continued to grow: retrofits tied to improving the efficiency of facilities. Investments in energy efficiency by government and the business sector is starting to skyrocket which mean there will be many more jobs in the energy efficiency sector over the next few years. In the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, Connecticut tied for eighth place, down from third place in the last scorecard. Unfortunately energy efficiency has been a casualty of budget cuts in the state, but the trend of more jobs in this sector should continue over the next few years.

Federal weatherization funds totaling $64.5 million that became available late last year are expected to add 640 jobs to the state economy, said Mary Ann Hanley, policy adviser in the state’s Office of Workforce Competitiveness. Grants for the energy sector, Pathways Out of Poverty, and Green Building Capacity programs should create about 750 jobs, she said.So far, Fritz said, the federal funds have translated into paying jobs for some 15,000 people through full- and part-time positions.

Connecticut Careers in Sustainability

Sustainability is evolving and becoming more mainstream. As this occurs, it is increasingly becoming a part of business strategy within large corporations. This is particularly true in resource intensive industries and companies with workforces of more than 10,000. Colleges and universities have also increased their hiring of sustainability staff in the last year; especially in schools with enrollment of 10,000 or more and in research institutions.

Generally speaking there is more work in the sustainability field for those living in areas that are home to more large company headquarters and more large universities. As a result those living in Connecticut should see a significant increase in the number of sustainability opportunities. In fact, Connecticut is home to 27 Fortune 1000 companies and 50 colleges and universities. It has two research universities.

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