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: energy efficiency, wind, solar, biofuel, environmental remediation, sustainability.

The Pew Charitable Trusts “Clean Energy Economy Report “ found that in 2007 New Jersey reported 2,031 clean businesses and provided 25,397 green jobs. Employment in the cleantech sector shrunk by 9.6% over the decade (1998- 2007), compared to a 2.7% contraction in employment for the state’s general economy over the same period. Over the two year period (2006-2008) New Jersey saw around $283 million of venture capital invested in its cleantech sector.

New Jersey Going Green reports that there are 20,764 companies in New Jersey that are either already performing green functions or may “turn green” whether through the implementation of clean/green technologies or through producing green technologies. Combined, these industries employ almost 192,000 workers, which is 5% of New Jersey’s total employment.

The Clean-Tech Job Activity ranking put out by Clean Edge, Inc. ranks the greater New York metro area that includes many areas of Northern and Central New Jersey within it at fourth place in the nation for the number of cleantech jobs in 2010.

Renewable Energy Jobs in New Jersey

Almost one-third of the green jpbs in New Jersey are to be found in renewable energy; over half, or around 34,000 jobs, are to be found in biofuels, solar, and wind-related manufacturing. The production of other renewable resources (e.g., thermal, hydraulic) is a small but significant component in the state’s green industrial sector, currently employing about 31,000 workers, or 15% of total green employment in New Jersey. New Jersey’s historic strength in manufacturing positions it to become a green manufacturing cluster for the extensive supply chain of the wind, solar, and biofuels energy.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research in 2010 New Jersey was the second state in the country in terms of how much new solar PV capacity it added in the state after California. With over 6,000 commercial and residential installations and an installed solar PV capacity of 293 MW, New Jersey ranks 2nd only to California in installed solar.

After breaking ground here in October, construction is now under way on the 100-acre solar farm in Pilesgrove, NJ. The 20 MW solar power facility is expected to produce enough electricity to power 5,100 homes with clean, renewable energy. It is the largest solar PV project in the country outside of California and is a $90 million investment in solar PV in the state.

It remains to be seen how much of an effect the new governor’s termination of the state’s support for renewable energy will have going forward. Governor Christie’s new revised New Jersey Energy Master Plan favors more polluting fossil fuel fired power plants above clean energy and speaks about adding more nuclear power in the state. Environmental advocates say Christie’s policies are shifting New Jersey from being a national leader in green energy to a state that is sending a message to those in the industry that it would be wiser to invest in other states. His emphasis on natural gas and nuclear power, among other things, could mean that we’re pushing out renewable energy.

Energy Efficiency Jobs in New Jersey

New Jersey Going Green has reported that there are currently over 120,000 green jobs in the area of energy efficiency in New Jersey’s green industries. Energy retrofitting existing buildings to become energy efficient is the biggest of employment area in the energy efficiency sector; over 60,000 jobs or close to 60% of the total in the energy efficiency sector are in the building installation industry. In addition to energy retrofits there are 37,000 jobs in the residential and nonresidential construction industries are either currently green or will soon become green in the near future. This will require that the manufacturing of the materials used in the construction of these buildings conform to new green standards.

Another important area in energy efficiency employment that is important in the state is related to the manufacturing of greener, more energy-efficient major appliances, such as refrigerators, washers and driers etc. A significant proportion of the 3,900 manufacturing jobs in this area is also expected to become green in the near future. Employment in this area is highest in Northern New Jersey. This region excels in manufacturing of energy efficient products.

New Jersey 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 New Jersey should see a significant increase in the number of sustainability opportunities. In fact, New Jersey is home to 41 Fortune 1000 companies and 79 colleges and universities. It has four research universities.

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