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, solar, wind, environmental remediation.

The Pennsylvania Green Jobs Report reports identified a total of 305,502 green jobs in 28,636 companies across the state that existed as of 2008. This general green jobs tally was further broken down by the report into several main categories.

Energy efficiency, which is defined as activities that: reduce energy consumption in existing buildings and in industrial processes; improve new buildings’ efficiency; reducing energy lost in distributing electricity; and to promoting demand management is the largest green jobs provider in the state, providing some 50% of the total number of green jobs. It is worth noting that the last two areas categorized under energy efficiency are also areas that are included in smart grid definitions. In 2008 energy efficiency provided 206,000 jobs and had more than 21,800 companies involved in this sector.

Pollution prevention & environmental cleanup is second (18%) with more than 63,000 workers and approximately 2,600 enterprises involved. This category is defined as efforts to restore polluted land and rivers to health, and clean industrial processes that lower toxins during production. Maintenance of water and sewer infrastructure to reduce pollution and eliminating contaminants from water are also in this category.

Renewable energy, defined by the report as wind and solar power as well as geothermal energy and hydroelectric power, provided employment to 25,303 people in the state and had 765 establishments involved in the sector in 2008.

Clean transportation, which includes public transit (rail, subways and others) and vehicle manufacturing (cars, planes and parts), increasing portions of which will use fuels other than fossil fuels, or use them more efficiently provided 29,492 green jobs and had 726 companies involved in the sector (in 2008).

Agriculture & resource conservation was defined to include: production of renewable fuels (wood, other crops), effective management of natural
resources, and practices such as conservation tillage, sustainable and organic agriculture that maintains or enhances soil quality and minimizes inputs. This sector employed 26,792 Pennsylvanians across 2,731 enterprises scattered across the state.

The Pew Center of The States Clean Economy Report found that between 2006 and 2008 Pennsylvania saw some $233 million on new venture capital invested in its cleantech sectors.

The size of Pennsylvania’s renewable energy sector continues to grow at a rapid pace and is now scaling up to a size that will have significant impact on the states economy. Pennsylvania’s solar market is reaching the key level of $1 billion per year, and in 2008, investment in wind alone was
about $400 million. This level of market growth is expected to continue.

The Pennsylvania Green Jobs Report (2008) goes on to predict that between 2009 and 2012, $10 billion in public and private investment in the green economy will be a catalyst for generating 115,000 new green jobs in Pennsylvania’s green sectors. Green jobs are defined by the report as jobs that employ workers in producing or offering products or services that: promote energy efficiency; contribute to the sustainable use of resources; prevent pollution; clean up the environment; and promote the reduction of harmful emissions. The report continues by noting that Pennsylvania is among the states with the highest number of green jobs. Advanced workforce policies and wise investments have made the state a national leader in creating and fostering a green economy.This general figure is further broken down into the report’s five categories of green jobs. It predicts 48,591 new jobs in energy efficiency; 38,224 new green jobs in renewable energy; 27,630 new jobs in pollution prevention and control; 836 new jobs in clean transportation; and 608 new jobs in agriculture and resource conservation.

In November 2010, Pennsylvania announced it would invest $8 million for 21 alternative fuels projects, including biofuels, natural gas, and electric powered vehicles. The projects are expected to create 221 jobs and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 14.5 million pounds.

Solar Jobs in Pennsylvania

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, it is a top 10 solar state for cumulative installed solar capacity in the United States as of 2010. Pennsylvania currently has 71 megawatts of solar power installed and 100 megawatts more in approved projects.

The National Solar Jobs Census 2010 reported that Pennsylvania has a strong solar presence. It is the second state for solar jobs in the country with 6,700 solar jobs and 282 solar firms reported in 2010. The state is is home to a large vertically-integrated solar photovoltaic manufacturing plants that offers solar products at all stages of the manufacturing process. According to a recent report from the Community Foundation for the Alleghanies that was conducted by energy analysis firm Black & Veatch, Pennsylvania’s solar energy market could add 48,000 green jobs while also replacing jobs that would be cut from the fossil fuel sector, if the state passes Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard that would increase the amount of solar sources and clean energy requirements from 8 to 15 percent by 2026.

The city of Philadelphia further established itself as a leader in clean energy and sustainability by announcing plans to install its first city-owned solar array. The Philadelphia Water Department will install a 250 kW solar photovoltaic system at its Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. The company doing the installation, CETCO, will be employing local construction workers and electricians on the project.

Wind Jobs in Pennsylvania

Total direct and indirect wind jobs supported in 2010: 3,000-4,000. At least 15 facilities currently manufacture components for the wind energy industry. Pennsylvania has also attracted significant wind-specific investment. One of the global leaders in the manufacture of wind turbines, Gamesa, chose Pennsylvania as its American hub. Gamesa now employs over 800 workers in Pennsylvania in its manufacturing and sales division, including 600 USW workers. Gamesa invested over $175 million in facilities in Pennsylvania. Investment of this type at the top of the wind energy supply chain, by Gamesa and others, has spurred further investment throughout the supply chain.

Four wind projects are in the development pipeline, although none are in the construction phase. Wind development slowed in 2010 and no new wind projects were commissioned.

New York-based EverPower, which has a regional office in Pittsburgh and significant operations in Pennsylvania, recently secured funding to finance its upcoming wind project in Cambria County. Construction of the 20-turbine, 75 MW Highland North Wind Farm, an extension of the company’s existing Highland Wind Farm, is scheduled to begin in Spring 2011. The project is expected to generate $122 million in regional economic development, including more than 100 construction jobs, millions of dollars in local construction materials, and 15 full- and part-time operation and maintenance jobs.

Other Renewable Energy Jobs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has 1 large biomass plant. A typical 30 MW biopower plant employs about 120 workers (in plant and outside).

Although the state has no naturally occurring geothermal sources it’s manufacturers do supply geothermal developments in the western parts of the country where the best geothermal resources are located with equipment such as power and cooling systems components. Because of this the increase in western geothermal production is having a positive employment impact in these types of manufacturers even though they are located in Pennsylvania a long way away from the hot geothermal steam reservoirs. In addition the state’s own geothermal heat pump (GHP) industry is taking off and is helping the state increase its energy efficiency.

Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania should see a significant increase in the number of sustainability opportunities. In fact, Pennsylvania is home to 54 Fortune 1000 companies and 295 colleges and universities. It has seven research universities.

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